Mermaid Chapter 7, Part 3

More mermaid story. since I’m writing, you get to read it. Eltra finds Al, Steve arrives in New York and gets his orders, Mera plans a picnic, and Noro, John and Jake plot to ruin the Alopia’s day

He was there, in the harbor. I could feel him and the pull was unbearable. I Swam toward the harbor only to have him disappear again. With my father apparently. Well I could go in and ask John or Jennie who he was and why he had come.
There was something about him that felt familiar beyond the bond though the pain in the soul was masking most of it. Well mysteries were meant to be solved and that would give me a chance to talk and well, other things. I continued into the harbor and as I passed the boat that Josh had been using before, there he was. I leapt onto the deck as father said; “Eltra, is something up?”
Mera said; “Looks like it’s going to be a triple wedding.”
And HE said; “You are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
Which was the most wonderful thing that I had heard, ever.
Josh said; “Al, meet Eltra. Eltra meet Al.”
HE said; “I think we know each other already.”
HE picked me up and sat down in a deck chair with me on his lap which was just so very nice. I started to kiss his face. My sister said; “Eltra, dear, perhaps we should talk to Al about the Changes in his life.”
I looked at him and said; “Al you know that I’m the Change in your life.”
“Yes dear.”
I was out of it. HE was out of it. This was no way to go on yet I couldn’t help myself with the joy and the pain, the strength of what we were together. I wanted to complete us as soon as possible. My sister said; “Mike, where is Al’s house?”
“Mera, about five miles from here up the coast, past the boatyard.”
“I think I know the place. It has that water gate.”
I knew the place too. My best friend Lillia had built it with her bonded and then gone away and never came back. My traitorous sister said; “Mike, why don’t you drive Al home. Eltra. I can take you to the beach nearby and you two can find each other.”
HE said; “I could drive Eltra over to my place.”
What a wonderful idea. We could even stop on the beach. My terrible sister said; “Al, I don’t think that it’s safe to drive in your condition right now, especially with Eltra in the car. Eltra let’s go for a Swim.”
While we had been talking Mera had been unbuttoning her dress. Now she grabbed me and tossed me over the side, into the water. She followed as I heard Al say; We could ride in the back seat.”
I loved so much already.
And Nera say; “I’ll come with you, Mike.”
Mera dragged me out of the harbor. I could hardly bear to be separated from Al. I screamed; “Mera, we need to go back! He needs me!!”
“Don’t worry, we’ll get you back together. We’re going there right now.”
I could sense Al leaving toward the land, going away, like Lillia. I fought with my sister. I cried; “He’s going away!”
Josh splashed into the water to help my sister. He said; “Only to the car. Mike and Nera are taking him to the house. We’re going to meet him there.”
“Why can’t I go with him!”
“Because he can’t Swim yet and you don’t have any clothes.”
“That doesn’t matter!”
“Maybe not to you, but for Al it might. We don’t know who is watching.”
That one got through. After all I had spent the last week dealing with Tom and Chrissie and what had happened to them. Of course rationality wasn’t something I was very good at right now. The pain of separation was just too much. I fought them as we Swam out of the harbor and along the coast until we reached the gate that I had not been near for so long.
Mera opened the gate and we Swam into the pool beyond. I could feel him coming toward the pool house with small pool where Lillia and I used to go to talk when she got her legs. Just before they disappeared so long ago, Lillia’s daughter had been about to Change. To celebrate they had been going on a cross country trip before the Change and they had never returned. I had felt young Al from time to time, but I stayed away. Mera, Josh, Mike and Nera left as he got closer. Carrying a rug, a can of kerosene, some matches and wearing a pool robe, he walked in to the pool house. He unrolled the rug on the floor, turned and poured kerosene on the fire set in the fireplace and lit it. He said; “I thought that I would make things more comfortable. I remember you, you know, from when you used to visit mother here. I never understood some of the things that mother said, about me being her gift to you. Now I think I do.”
I pulled myself out on to the blanket and he sat down beside me. I said; “I remember this pool, your mother and I had so many happy times here. I miss your mother, what happened to her?”
“They all died in a train wreck near Chicago. A derailment caused their train car to telescope, they had a compartment at the end of the car and they were crushed. I was not with them because some friends invited me on a hunting trip in the Adirondacks. I was going to join them on the trip back.”
I could feel the grief and hugged him. But the grief was shared and he hadn’t returned either. I said; “Then you never came back. At least not for very long.”
“I had had an appointment to West Point. That’s what we were celebrating on the hunting trip. It was easier to stay in the army and not think too hard. I felt lost. Then there was the war.”
“And I never looked for you when you did come. I was so caught up with my grief after my mother was attacked that I never got close enough to feel yours. Well I’m here now and we’re together.”
I kissed him. He kissed me back, which felt so good as he kissed me all over my face. I reached for the belt on his robe. He said; “Mike and Nera said that I should wear this. Actually Nera said to not wear anything.”
“She was right.”
“Well when she and Mike got together she tore his clothes off. From what Mera said, Mike and Nera didn’t even talk with each other.”
I kissed him deeply in the mouth. He returned the favor and then started kissing my neck. It felt so good as the kissed pulled at the tiny scales on my chest and worked his way down. The warmth grew as he went further and further and then I lost thought in the waves of pleasure until I felt the pain of his Change and looked him with concern as he looked at me with joy and love in his eyes. For the first time I felt complete and the wonder of Lillia’s gift.
He said; “I didn’t know. So what’s next?”
“Well we get you used to your new self by getting you into the water. Get in the pool.”
I dragged him into the water and his new life.
It had been a long trip. Four days on the ship and three more days on the train. I wasn’t able to get all my people on one train and there were only two seats available on the Vanderbilt and we had 96 people to move. I took my senior Petty officer and went ahead while the rest would come on later trains. It was lucky that I had had breakfast on the train as there was an ensign waiting for me as I exited the gate. He said; “Commander Claytor, I’m here to take you to the Admiral. Come with me, sir.”
“Ok, ensign. Bill, can you get the rest squared away?”
“Will do, Steve.”
The ensign drove me down to the navy yard and to HQ. Tim Kirk was waiting for me. At last, I would be getting some answers. I said to Tim; “Tim, so what’s going on that the Admiral had to drag me all the way from Hawaii?”
“I think that this will explain some of it.”
He handed me a briefing book. Opening, it there was a picture of my dad with Chrissie in a lobster pot. Then a synopsis of the merfolk bower down in the Rockaways, some strange mob related activity, my mother’s government file from when she worked at fisheries, pictures of strange chemical equipment with some followup on what it did, an after action report on a raid on a warehouse that burned itself down with thermite, a bunch of stuff on sharks including information on various shark attacks, some more pictures of Chrissie on a beach, followed by pictures of a young merman who must be Chrissie’s bonded, Tom from what mother’s last letter had said, Pictures of Tom using a shotgun to shoot monsters, sharks and naked people along with Tom’s brief and concise after action report, ending up with some more speculation on where the sharks had come from and a some stuff on the missing society types and some investigatory stuff on society types.
It had happened again. With my family nothing was ever simple. I said; “It looks like I’m going to have to go to the Cape unless my dad and mom are still here.”
“They started back last Tuesday.”
“Probably to collect Tom and Chrissie from wherever they are.”
Mike del Vecchio walked in with a man and woman that I didn’t know. He said; “Steve, good to see you.”
“Are you involved in this too?”
“We’ll talk in the briefing. This is bigger than the book has in it.”
“With my family it usually is. Who are these people?”
“We’ll make the introductions in the briefing.”
The adjudant came out and said; “Commander Kirk, Commander Claytor, Mike, Mr. Smith, Mrs Cianetti, the admiral and Captain Farr are ready for the briefing.”
We all trooped into the briefing room where the admiral and Captain Farr were waiting. The admiral said; “Steve we called you and your people in because this might require your tactical skills and training and you already know most of the people involved. You also have the seniority if we need a Marine contingent. As of now you are responsible for direct tactical command.”
“Isn’t that a little drastic? What’s the jurisdiction boundaries?”
“Commander Claytor, I’m Helmut Smith. I run a clandestine operation mostly involving fae and fae related activities. This case involves some of the darkest and nastiest stuff that we have ever seen. It also involves a scheme to apparently exteriminate all the fae in the US. Your mother and our people have been working together on this for three weeks now and the deeper we get the darker and uglier it gets.”
“How did the navy get involved?”
Bob Farr answered; “I haven’t checked with the N3 for an exact count but we have approximately 200 Swimmers and their families right here on this station and that’s not unusual. Many of them have wives or relatives that live down in the Rockaway bower and were affected by the stuff that was dumped in the water. The shark attacks were also a terror tool used to weaken the bower and prevent the bower from seeking deeper water when the storm came through. We were able to mitigate the crisis, but it could have been a real disaster. Then there’s the issue of the navy having Swimmers available if the bowers were somehow destroyed. Also, this could have been espionage and economic warfare by parties unknown. So CincAnt is looking into this very seriously.”
Helmut added; “From what we have been able to determine this is a concerted attack by parties currently unknown. We do know that they have been attacking and murdering individual immigrant fae families for some time. Part of what my office does is track down those attacks. Until your mother got involved though we hadn’t really considered that the whole effort was coordinated. It was just an attack here or a monster there. The problem was that, looking at individual cases and the fact that so many fae were hiding themselves made it hard to figure out the pattern. Your mother looked more deeply because of what she knew about your father and came up with a pattern that we are following up on. By and large it was individuals and families, not a full fae kingdom like the Rockaway bower. This move against the Rockaway bower was probably the first move against an established fae community.”
“So what’s the plan?”
The admiral said; “Right now it’s to send you up to the Cape to get together with Helmut’s people and give Tom a full debrief. Right now he’s the only survivor of one the shark attacks and he’s been able to get pictures.”
Smith added; “That is remarkable in of itself. We have reason to believe that the other side really wants Tom dead. His going home to Vermont sort of messed them up.”
“So what did he do with Chrissie? She can’t get away from the water for very long.”
“He took her to Vermont with him. They made arrangements with Tom’s family. That’s what messed them up. They expected him to go up the coast if he ran and never considered that he would go inland.”
I asked; “How do you know this?”
“They think that they have subverted one of Tom’s relatives. One of our people married into the family. He keeps an eye on things up there. He’s also county sheriff. The person who they think they subverted works for him. ”
Fae families were notoriously clannish. Dad and grandfather had had to work very hard against that and by and large it worked. Of course loose unbonded fae tend to get drawn into families when they do connect. That was what had happened with Tom and Chrissie. With Haruka and I, come to that. I asked; “What resources can I draw on?”
The admiral said; “At this point Helmut has some people on the Cape and you can draw people from Boston, Newport and Groton if you need them. You would know better than I would what Josh can provide.”
“What about my people?”
“I think that we should hold them here for the time being. Everything we’ve seen so far says that the other side is concentrated here in New York.”
“When is Tom expected back?”
The admiral asked; “Helmut?”
“He left the farm yesterday. They were planning to be back to the Cape Wednesday. His parents are with him.”
“If the other side is after him, does he still have that shotgun?”
“That gun is in the hands of Josh’s people right now. According to our people Tom built another model 10 to fit his new hands and he did some 1911 frames for us and himself. So he is not unarmed.”
“He seems like a busy fellow. Or at least somebody who likes to be prepared.”
“From what we heard he was primarily trying to make sure that his family didn’t go on the warpath against yours and break the merfolk scent trail. It looks like he accomplished both of those things. The other side didn’t know where he was until we told them.”
“Why did you tell them?”
“Tom asked us to. He’s playing the shell game and revealing the pea to the sucker.”
“The problem is that they now know that he’s on the move and where he’s likely to end up. Tim, could you get me a map of Eastern Massachusetts and a chart. Helmut, what do you know about the potential opponents? Grandfather used to tell us stories about the old fae war 200 years ago, but I don’t know what these people might have come up with.”
Helmut handed me a book.
“This is a dictionary of what we have encountered. Descriptions more than pictures, unfortunately. The other side has been remarkably good at hiding themselves from things like cameras and destroying the evidence.”
Tim came back in with a gas station road map, a geological survey map and navigation chart for Cape Cod Bay. The road map was what I needed. I was looking for choke points, places where Tom would have to drive through to get to the Cape. The problem was Chrissie and her gills. I remembered what had happened during her Change. Did Tom know? I opened the book and read his after action report where he explained how he escaped from the sharks. It looked like he did and took it into account. Apparently he had used a tide pool to handle Chrissie being wet and staged it so that he could be as flexible as possible. I asked; “So how likely are the sharks to show up again?”
Mike said; “Steve, my son Sal, went out along Long Island to close the deal last weekend and the sharks were a no show even though we baited them. We had a nice surprise set up for them and it was rather disappointing. Have you got any more, Helmut.”
“Mary, have the irregulars picked anything up?”
“Helmut, no, but there have been some disappearances of street kids lately. There’s been a buzz amongst the newsboys and their friends lately to look out for strange kidnappings. I think that we need to look into it. I haven’t asked for a look out on the club because it’s too far from the usual city stuff.”
I asked; “Club?”
“Steve, Sal tracked the sharks to some missing people all out there on Montauk that all disappeared at the same time that Tom was blowing sharks away and one of missing people showed up in the pictures your sister shot. We tracked them out to a club called the Alopias.
“Shark’s teeth. They weren’t trying to hide it very hard. Ok, Admiral, here’s my plan for meeting up with Tom and perhaps keeping him alive.
I think that I will take a platoon and run out to Providence on the train. I want some cars to meet us there and we will drive to Plymouth. If Tom is coming down from the coast, which he would have to do if he was keeping Chrissie’s gills wet we’ll intercept. I can sense Chrissie as she comes down the coast.”
“Why Plymouth?”
“Admiral, Because there are two bridges into the Cape, but only one real road from the North and Boston that is near enough to the coast. So if you want to intercept that’s where you want to do it.”
“Ok, do it.”
Helmut said; “Steve, I’ll send a message to Mike and Sal. They should be able to tie up with you.”
“That should work, Helmut, How should I know who they are?”
“Sal will be driving a Duesenberg. It’s sort of hard to miss.”
“How did he get his hands on that?”
“It came from the cars that get confiscated and we use for undercover work. He took it out one day for cover and sort ended up with it. He’s been using it for undercover work with the mob. That’s how he found the warehouse. Make him tell you the story, it’s a hoot.”
Mike said; “Steve, Helmut’s right about that. Get Sal to tell it to you.”
“Ok, Mike. Admiral I need a ride back to Grand Central and the cars in Providence.”
“I’ll have the arrangements made. I think that we’ve got a plan of action now. Thank you, gentlemen, Mary. Bob have the minutes written up.”
“Steve, I’ll send somebody uptown with some boxes of the special shells we use in .45ACP and is 12 gauge fine.”
“Helmut. .45 ACP and 12 gauge are what we use, so that is perfect.”
The briefing broke up and I went over to Mike and said; “Mike, my family gets into weird stuff, but this is mind blowing. Just what did my mother get involved in here?”
“Steve, I’ll let your mother explain most of it. She turned over a rock that we were all sort of missing. Frankly she did a lot of good. From what Helmut has said, working with her, Sal and the rest blew open some stuff that they had been trying to crack for years. And we started to all work together on this. That may be the most important thing of all. The next thing we need to do is to keep Tom alive so that everybody can pick his brain and we all work together to keep this thing from killing us all.”
“In that case I need to get going.”
There was a car waiting and I went back to Grand Central. Most of my team had arrived, though my number 2 hadn’t yet arrived with the last platoon, the HQ platoon. I couldn’t wait.
“George, I’m going take first platoon and Ensign Delios with me to Providence.” Wait here for the Lieutenant Rogers and take the rest to quarters at the yard. I’ll brief you when I get back. Stelios, you and first platoon come with me. I’ll brief you on the train.”
A man came up, flashed an ID and said; “Commander Claytor? Mr. Smith said to give these to you. These are the special rounds that the bureau uses.”
He handed me four boxes, two of shotgun shells and two of .45 ACP. “Tell your boss thank you. I hope we don’t need them.”
“The thing with these is that most of the time you won’t know that you need them until the monsters show up and then you do. Well I need to get back to the office.”
I handed the boxes to First Platoon’s Petty officer. “Keep these handy, chief.”
I walked over to the New Haven Ticket office to arrange for the trip to Providence. After I got the tickets I went over to the Western Union booth and sent a telegram to my father telling him that I would try to meet with Tom in Plymouth on my way out. Then I took first platoon over to Track 22 to board the train. Once we were on board we all sat together. Stelios asked; “So sir, what’s going on?”
“A fae war and maybe something worse. Parties unknown tried to take out a merfolk bower in New York.”
I handed him the briefing book.
“Who’s the girl?”
“My sister, Chrissie, actually. Apparently that picture is in there because my mother got involved.”
“Well from what I got from her, it was a result of opening contact with the Rockaway bower and my Aunt Nera’s bonding. At least that’s what they were going to New York to do. In the process of some other things she made some connections and they found the funny stuff going on.”
“Are they hitting any other bowers?”
Stelios was high fae from the Norfolk Virginia bower and fresh from Annapolis. Of course it was a concern we all shared. He flipped through the book.
“That’s some nasty stuff they were dumping. The kind of stuff they wouldn’t even touch for chemical weapons because it was too volatile and unstable. Some of the stuff used here is just plain weird and I’m a chemistry specialist and trained in chemical neutralization and decontamination. Frankly it’s a good thing that the place was burned with thermite.”
“From what they said in the briefing one of the tip offs was when the teamsters they hired to dump the stuff suddenly started dying.”
He continued to read and said; “A protection racket with Sharks? That’s not even possible.”
“They weren’t really sharks. Read on.”
“Wow, who’s that with your sister. And what was he shooting?”
“That’s my sister’s bonded, Tom, and what they were shooting and why is what we are trying to find out. As nearly as the people working on this have been able to determine, the attack was committed by some sort of were shark, humans that Change into sharks. What else the other side has is unknown, but that’s why we’re going to intercept Tom before the other side kills him.”
“Why did they want to kill them in the first place?”
“Because of what my sister and Tom represent. I don’t make a big deal about it because mom and dad don’t, but mom at least is high fae royalty. Dad too, probably, but any trace of any connections to ANY fae was wiped when he was left at an orphanage. From what mom has sent to me, Tom’s family is also High fae and he is also royal though he didn’t know that when Chrissie started chasing him. In any case if you are trying to destroy the fae here, destroying the family structure is a key first step and that’s what they have been doing. The attack on my sister was apparently one of a number of attacks on high fae families.”
“And the attacks on the mob, sir? Are they nuts?”
“We’ll have to ask them, right after we shut them down. Frankly though, attacking Chrissie was probably enough. We don’t want to see what happens when my dad gets really pissed off.”
“Josh, sir? Isn’t he just a guy with a boat on the water?”
“Stelios, there’s a reason that my grandfather made Josh his general and heir over his own sons and it wasn’t because he wasn’t too concerned about the Cape bower or that his sons were incompetent. Let me put it this way. You just asked if the people doing this were nuts because they messed with the mob. The Boston mob guys would ask the same question if you said that you were messing with my dad. Stay with me on this and you’ll probably see why.”
The train pulled into Providence and there were cars waiting for us so that we could drive over to Plymouth. At about 22:00 we pulled into a beachside cabin motel to get some rest and wait for the morning.
Lately it seemed like things just kept coming. I loved my sister in law but the timing for her to be occupied could not have been much worse. On the other hand having Al in the family as well as Mike wouldn’t hurt. I hoped that Helmut wouldn’t think that I was poaching deliberately. I turned to Mera as we Swam back to the harbor and said; “This couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Why couldn’t they have found each other the day after tomorrow.”
“Dear, once Al came back and was involved with us this was inevitable. I sort of felt the bond back in New York. It took me a while to realize who he was. The fact that he never seemed to be surprised about Nera and I and what we were should have been a clue. Eltra was Al’s mother Lillia’s best friend and Lillia used to say that Al was a gift to Eltra but she never explained what that meant. Lillia bonded before we did and was up top when we met. We were sort of busy getting our lives straight and we stayed away from the bower because of the backsplash from our bonding. Then the derailment happened and Al fell out of our sight in the Army. Lillia and Bill were dad’s first start for his economic projects and the accident made a big hole. That’s when dad started pushing you to take things over, remember? Right now, I’m wondering if the derailment was an accident.”
“I know, but this makes getting Tom under wraps more complicated.”
“We’ll work things out. Mike and Nera have been working with Eltra for the last few days and Mike has a lot of experience with these sorts of things. Sal is here too and we can take advantage of that. Let’s talk to father when we get back.”
When we got back to the boat, father and John were with Mike and Nera talking with Sal and Sillia about a telegram that Mike had received. Father turned and said; “A telegram just came in. It’s from Steve. Mike just got one from his boss saying that Steve was on his way out and to meet up with him in Plymouth.”
He handed me the the telegram from Steve. I opened it. Steve was going to try to get together with Chrissie in Plymouth and bring them in. I handed the telegram to Mera and said; “Well we lose Eltra and gain Steve. Not a bad exchange, really. Especially if these people are planning something. It looks as if things are starting to look up.”
Father said; “well how to do we do this? I’ve got some ideas and this could be fun.”
Mera said;”Well we’re using this boat and we’ve established Sal as the big time mob troubleshooter on R and R with his new girl the mob princess. It’s supposed to be nice tomorrow, so why don’t we have a party on the Long Beach?”
I said; “And bring Tom and Chrissie back on the boat while they are watching for Tom on his truck?”
“Not exactly. I think I’ll go over to the bower tonight and tell some of Chrissie’s cousins that Steve is bringing some young men from the navy with him and that we’re having a party with them up on the beach. Then when we get wet after the picnic, Chrissie’s friends and their new friends are all going to play games in the canal. Along with with Chrissie and Tom.”
“Tom going to be up to that yet?”
“It won’t matter because we’ll have a boat waiting on the other end.”
“My boat?”
“No, Tom’s, with father and John just fishing with Joe.”
Joe came up; “What with Joe?”
Mera said; “You, with father and John, fishing on Tom’s boat. Nobody will be too surprised at that because father has been spending more time up top recently and there are the new canal improvements coming. They’ll expect you to be looking at that and after all that work during the storm, having John take a break.”
Father said; “I like that idea. But will the girls cooperate? We’ve been trying to clamp down on games in the canal.”
Mike asked; “So what’s going on with the canal?”
“Well the younger mer folk like to have tide races going up with one tide and down with the other. Nobody’s been killed, but there have been injuries and perhaps more importantly some of the races were seen on the surface during the summer. So I’ve tried to keep the races to a minimum but the kids still do it from time to time. I had banned Chrissie from participating last summer but quite frankly that didn’t matter as Chrissie had other interests and had started to play around with Tom’s pots. Mera do you think the girls will go for it?”
“With young mermen on the other end? And a party? I think that I can get my nieces to show up.”
I said “So Mera, how do you want to do this?”
“Well Joe needs to get Tom’s boat back in the water and I need to get out to the bower tonight.”
Joe said; “I told the guys to put it back in on my way over. I figured we, or Tom might need it.”
I said; “Mera, I’ll go out with you. I want to get with Eltra’s people and let them know that Eltra is going to be occupied for a while. Father, do you want to come out as well?”
Father said; “I think that I want to talk to Mike and Sal some more. I’ve been out of touch for too long and those people, whoever they are, have been taking advantage of us not talking to each other. After we talk to Tom I think that I’m going down to New York and talk to Helmut and the people down there. We need to have better communications and they are family one way or another.”
This was the man that barely acknowledged the city’s existence three weeks ago? On the other hand, before mother was killed he had gone down into the city from time to time. He sort of had gotten lost when Mother was killed.
He added: “I also want to talk to John and Jake and see what we can set up. It’s possible we can mousetrap our shark friends. I’ll let you know what’s up in morning.”
Mera said; “We’ll be back here in the morning to take the boat over to Woods Hole to pick up Sal’s car and the party materials.”
We went back overboard to Swim out to the bower. I said to Mera; “With all the Swimming we’ve been doing lately it feels like I’m on one of Nera’s exercise programs.”
“Not yet, but I want us to be able to dance for Chrissie’s wedding. So I’m going to keep you Swimming more often until the wedding. Tom too, if we can get him to stop running around for a while.”
“I wonder what Eltra is going to do with Al?”
“She’ll have him Swimming around, probably right from the start. I wonder how they are going to deal with guns? Is Al going to give his lecture to Eltra?”
“Those two? I don’t think he’ll have to. It’s going to be interesting. Especially with Tom around. Eltra’s wanted better stuff for underwater fighting and Al can probably help her get what she wants. From what Tom said on the boat, he did a lot of guns for his brother Larry before coming down here. Larry does custom work for people starting from parts he bought as scrap after the war.”
“About that exercise, catch me if you can!!”
She Swam away from me forcing me to chase her all the way to the bower. When we got there she, kissed me and said; “We’ll have some fun later.”
Then she Swam off to find her nieces. I Swam over to the room that we used to coordinate our sweeps and other functions that the bower needed. Velt was using the string and knot writing to put the roster up. I said; “Hi Velt. We’re going to have to do without Eltra for a while.”
“She bonded.”
“Noro said that she might. She was feeling the twinges for the last week or so. Do you know who it was? It seemed to be a lander.”
“Actually I do. And so do you. It’s Mike’s coworker, Al. But he’s also Lillia’s son.”
“Lillia? Now there’s a name I haven’t heard for a long time. What happened to them?”
“Train wreck in ’05. Al had joined the army and sort of went away. He ended up as Mike and Sal’s armory and gun manager and came up here to set Nera and Mike up with new guns. He came by when we were on the boat and there was Eltra, looking for him. We took him and Eltra over to his place and I imagine that they were involved with each other before we got out of Al’s pool.”
“With all that’s going on right now, this isn’t a good time.”
“I know, but look at it this way. Eltra finally has the expertise she’s always wanted for underwater weaponry. With what we’ve seen that might be important. As Mera said it was inevitable once Al came into our circle anyway and the sooner it’s over the better. I just hope that Helmut doesn’t think that I’m poaching his people.”
“From what Mike’s said, I don’t think that that will be an issue and Mike said that they wanted a connection up here anyway. Frankly when Nera starts working the office down there, I want to start rotating some sweeps through there for training on what’s going on anyway. We were too blind when the sharks hit. If we can get better hardware for down below that’s nothing but a bonus. We need to handle getting caught in a frenzy, let alone whatever else the other side might come up with.”
“I think that Sal’s right about the Sound bower and that we all can’t leave them alone anymore. We at least need a line of communication. I’ll talk to Sal about that tomorrow. By the way Steve is coming out. In fact he’s over at Plymouth right now looking to make a connection with Tom tomorrow. I ‘m going to want a sweep at the bottom of the canal tomorrow too.”
“I was going to put one there anyway. The kids have been getting rambunctious again.”
“Well, ignore them tomorrow. Mera is inviting some of our nieces to meet up with Steve’s people and then all come Swimming back, with Tom and Chrissie.”
“Won’t they be in danger if the sharks come back?”
“Well they would have to come from either Montauk, Rhode Island or our area to get to either the long beach or the canal. The police out at Montauk have instructions to let Helmut’s people know if more strange cars turn up, the cops in Rhode Island and here have been given the heads up by Jake and Ray’s people are keeping an eye out for cars on the beach with New York plates. It’s not perfect, but I think that we will know if they show up. Considering that Steve is bringing one of his platoons, I’m bringing Joe’s people with guns, Tom probably has guns and Sal and Mike are going, the question is going to be who shoots them first? Also, Joe and Noro are going to be at the bottom of the canal with Tom’s boat to pick them up with John. Noro was going to talk to John and Jake and by now I imagine that they are planning their usual fun and games if the sharks show up here.”
“If they do I wouldn’t want to be them. Noro and John haven’t had a good game for a long time and they’ve been working hard with the hurricane stuff and I imagine that they will want some good fun.”
Mera came in; “Josh, the girls were overjoyed to get together with Chrissie and especially with Steve’s people. They had wondered where she went now that she and Tom had closed the deal and were sort of worried about them. Of course Steve bringing new blood around didn’t hurt either.”
“Do you think that they are ready to be navy wives?”
“Josh, all three of them see at it as an opportunity to see the outside world. To see new guys if nothing else. We’ll have to see how it works out and Steve’s people are coming to Newport anyway for a while. Their mothers wanted to know when I was bringing Chrissie and Tom by to show them off. I’m tired, so lets go over to our bower.”
We went over to the bower we shared when I was under sea and were together but not to sleep, at least at first.
The next morning we Swam back to the harbor. Mera and I leapt aboard the boat and got dressed. Surprisingly Al and Eltra were there talking to Noro, Mike, Nera, Sal and Sillia on the boat. Al hadn’t bothered to release his Change. Al said; “I came to collect my car. Mike is going to drive it over and then I’m going drive it back after Eltra gets dressed in one of mother’s dresses and we’re going up around the Cape to P’town and back for a few days. We’re going to do the same sort of thing that Sal did in case the sharks decide to show up.”
Mera said; “Before you go on your adventure , why don’t you and Eltra join us for the party? That way we can all meet with Tom before your adventure.”
Eltra said; “Won’t that be overwhelming for Tom?”
“He has a big family too, so I suspect not. In any case you’re now involved in the wedding and Greta, Nera and I were planning to start work putting it together so this is good opportunity to find out what’s going on.”
“Why am I involved in the wedding? Al and I are already bonded.”
“Sister the wedding is an opportunity to get as many of the fae together as possible. You need to be there because you were the first one on the scene on Tom’s island. Also you need to know what living arrangements you might need in New York. Have you and Al talked about that yet?”
Al said; “I was thinking about transferring up here. Or I could come up weekends.”
Mera said; “That’s not going to work very well. Especially since you are newly bonded. It didn’t work very well for Josh and I, did it Josh?”
“No it didn’t and in the end we ended both living on the water on a barge in New York. That’s until father dragged me back up here right after your parents’ accident.”
Mera said; “Which brings up the central issue we are dealing with. Helmut needs Al. For that matter he might need you, Eltra. The other side was able to attack the Rockaway bower because Helmut didn’t have anybody who could go down and check things out. We don’t know what’s happening with the sound bower. Between Mike, Sal and now Al that’s changed. Sister, Nera plans to work with Mike and I suspect that you will be needed in New York as well.”
“But what about my work here?”
I said; “Father?”
“Eltra, as I said the other day when we talked about your bonding, we will cope. In fact we will probably grow. Ever since your mother was attacked, we’ve been running along as if nothing else would change. Meanwhile our enemies were gaining power and murdering fae like Al’s family and we didn’t even know what happened or even that Al was alive until he showed up and you bonded with him.”
Mera said; “Knowing what I know now there is a good chance that Al’s parents’ accident was the first step of an attack on us. It didn’t work out for them because father brought Josh in to replace Bill. Doing that worked out better than any of us expected. Perhaps that’s why the other side switched to New York. The fact that we did not go down or retreat from the land and the stopping of the werewolves in Vermont probably set them back more than we know. That may be why they were so quick to go after Tom.
The problem is that the conflict they’ve endured has set Mary’s orphans to thinking of the Changed as potential monsters. Sal, you were skeptical of me when we met, weren’t you? Linda was too.”
“Yes I was, until I saw Mike and Nera together. The Change in him was so obviously wonderful that it was inescapable. That’s probably about the time that I started to notice Sillia. It was definitely the time that I saw Change as GOOD thing.”
“That’s what we need to bring into Helmut’s office. The people there need to see the Changed as people every day. To not be afraid of the potential for Change. Nera has already started that with Mike, but a city on the water needs more Swimmers looking into our world.”
I said; Velt wants to start rotating sweeps through Helmut’s office so that his people have a better handle on what’s out there. So having you down there, Eltra would probably help us up here.”
Sillia said; “I and some other ladies can help with moving to New York. Mary’s already working on it for Nera. Sal and I haven’t made any decisions yet because we aren’t sure that he’s going to be able to stay in the bureau or if he’s going to be involved in the family business.”
Mera said; “One last thing. Aunt has started to give her little presents away again. Sal, go down and bring up what she gave Sillia. From what Sillia has said, some other ladies have rewards coming and they need to know what goes with them.”
Sal went below and returned with the necklace and put it around Sillia’s neck. Eltra gasped and said; “I think we need to make the arrangements for me to be with Al in New York. If she’s giving those things away again, it’s serious.”
Al said; “Why dear, other than if it’s real you could probably buy a small country with the stones on that necklace.”
Eltra said; “That necklace is a fae weapon and a very powerful one. They are also very dangerous. The problem is that once they are gifted by a royal fae like my aunt they cannot be given away other than to another royal fae. Once they are bonded like that one is to Sillia now they are a burden the wearer must carry for as long as we live. My sisters and I received aunt’s gifts during the last fae war when it looked like we might lose and be destroyed. Instead my brother destroyed himself. If aunt is giving those away again, things must be very bad indeed. And the ladies and their bonded need to know what those gifts entail.”
Mera added; “She also wants to come to the wedding. Just what she has in store for Chrissie and Tom, she hasn’t said, but I think we can take it for granted that she was VERY pleased that Tom killed all those sharks. So let’s get going to set this party up and get Tom and Chrissie out of trouble.”
Al said; “Ok, Eltra and I will Swim over so that Mike can pick us up and we’ll meet you at Woods Hole.”
Al and Eltra slipped into to the water and disappeared. Joe and Moira came by in Tom’s boat to pick up father and John. Moira was using Chrissie’s seat. I called out; “Joe are you Ok with the boat?”
“With this boat? I’m sorry that I’m missing out on the party but this boat does have its compensations. Moira made up some sandwiches for lunch and I visited the bait shop, so we should have some luck.”
Father said; “before we go, I just want to let you know that John and I are planning to mousetrap the sharks if they show up. We’ve arranged for the bridges to essentially close after you go up the canal, we’ve closed the beaches to car traffic on the North side and all of Jake’s people are on the lookout for fancy cars with New York plates. We have some other fun and games planned too, but I’m not going to spoil it. I’ll get going now.”
Father and I went over to the harbormaster’s office to collect John and we had a quick talk about their plans before they jumped aboard Tom’s boat. As he left he said; “We’ll see you later!” as Joe backed the boat back out.
Mike carried Nera over to the car and left for Al’s. I called out to George to get the boat moving and we headed over toward Woods Hole.
Woods Hole is where the ferries for Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard tie up. More recently the fisheries and new Oceanographic Institute had moved in to the buildings next to the weather station. We docked at the public pier and I went across the street with three of Joe’s people to Cahoon’s fish market. Matt behind the counter said; “Josh. Got a charter? What do you need?”
“Matt, I need a bake for 35 or so for my charter. We’re doing a picnic on the long beach.”
“Sure, Josh, I’ll set you up. What’s with Ray’s people? There have been a couple of his people around lately.”
“Probably as a result of my charter. It’s one of the Brooklyn outfit’s big trouble shooters and his fiancé. The Brooklyn outfit said to take care of them. They’re good people though.”
“That have anything to do with the stuff Ray’s people have been asking around about? And the fisheries people? People deliberately dumping crap to kill fish? Around here that makes a lot of people worried.”
“Some weird stuff went on down in New York. My charter was the point on shutting it down. Made the Brooklyn people very happy with that.”
“This doesn’t have anything to do with “under sea” does it? Ilutra was by on his way in to the weather station the other day to ask about issues with fish. The fisheries people also put out a bulletin. And a bunch of people were talking about Chrissie, Tom and a shark attack. I‘ve got a cousin with tail at home and he’s worried about his wife’s parents. ”
“That’s one of the reasons we brought the troubleshooter out. He has a nose for what’s going down and he’s brought some people out to check around. I’ll tell Sam and the rest at the next meeting what’s going down. So far, though it looks like they got things shut down in New York. Mera has been talking to George about what’s going on though. She was there for most of it.”
“Good. We’ve missed her on the docks since she went under sea.”
“George wants her to take over when he retires.”
“That would probably be a good thing.”
“We’re looking into it, especially after this mess. I’ve got to go, see you later.”
I left as Joe’s people and Matt started to put lunch together and went back to the boat to collect Sal. As I got to the boat Al and Eltra drove up with Mike in the back seat. There were plenty of empty parking spots this time of year and I called out;
“Al, park next to the boat. We’ll pick your car up on the way back. Sal, let’s go get your car!”
Sillia called out; “Sal, bring it by here before you go. I want to take a picture!”
Al parked the car and picked Eltra up and handed her to one of Joe’s people and got aboard as Sal got off the boat and we walked over to the freight office. Sal’s car was right out front, surrounded by a crowd of admiring railroad workers and kids. I walked into the office and said; “Bob, you couldn’t have made it more obvious?”
“Ray’s people wanted it out front where they could keep an eye on it. Is this the owner?”
“Yes, he’s my charter for about a week. He does some work for the Brooklyn outfit and Ray’s people are looking out for him while he’s here. Sal, meet Bob.”
“Pleased to meet you.”
“Here are your keys, Mr del Vecchio.”
Sal said; “Josh, I’ll be going back the boat now.”
He went back out, started the car, backed out and left the lot. Bob said; “Is he as big a troubleshooter as Ray’s people have been saying?”
“Probably. His girl is the daughter of the guy who essentially runs the Brooklyn mob and he personally took out two hitters trying to start a mob war last week by shooting the big boss. He’s got good people working with him though. I’ve got to go and get a bake on the boat.”
I walked across to Cahoon’s to sign the invoice and watched as the fish shop and Joe’ speople loaded the black metal pans on a truck so that they could bring them over to the boat. After they loaded up I followed them back to the boat. Sal was sitting in the car with Mike as Sillia sat on the gunwale, held up Sal’s Graflex and snapped the shutter. Joe’s people started unloading the pans from the fish store into the boat. Sal got out of the car, came over to me and said; “Mike and I are going to get going now. See you in Plymouth.”
Sal was on his way to meet up with Steve. Mike was going as his backup and because he knew Tom and could pick him up with his senses more easily. I boarded the boat and once everything was stowed away I said; “George, let’s go.”
We left the dock and headed up toward the canal. As we approached the canal a boat came out to collect the toll, recognized the boat and turned back. While it never really paid off, Noro had been an invester on the canal and our boats never paid the tolls. We passed under the open railroad bridge as we headed into the canal. Sillia waved at the cars on the bridge and took a picture as we passed under the Bourne bridge as it opened and headed up the canal arriving at the Sagamore bridge about 45 minutes later. We passed under the bridge and up into the bay where George opened the boat up. As we went up the bay toward our redevous I asked Sillia; “Why so many pictures?”
“For Mary and our parents. Actually for Sal’s sister Cindy mostly because she made me promise to.”
Mera said; “Sillia keep doing that. It’s best to have the memories.”
We reached the Long beach, dropped anchor, Al and Eltra undressed and sat on the gunwale. Al Changed and said; “Eltra wants to check out down below and introduce me to things down there. We’ll be back when Tom gets here.”
They splashed overboard. Eltra and Al would probably be indulging themselves too, but that actually helped because it would confuse the sharks to have multiple newly bonded in the water at different times. In fact both Sal and Mike were going to take turns when they got back. We put the dinghy in the water and I rowed first Sillia and some blankets, with Lavrides and Vince from the yard with shovels and then Mera and Nera ashore with half of the pans. I made a third trip with the other two pans and some charcoal from the yacht’s stores in a bucket to start the fires with. After the pit was dug we searched up some driftwood and used the charcoal and some kerosene to start a long fire in the trench. As the fire really started going some cars and trucks appeared on the road behind the beach. Tom had arrived.


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