Mermaid, Chapter 25, part 4

Ed is pissed, Tim has an interesting interview with the Director, and Chrissie makes a discovery in the basement.


Sunday, 1/24, 1932.

The silent compelled brought us breakfast and left. Nanami said, “Whoever cooks here is not bad. I hope we are not confined here too long or I will be the size of a whale.”

“That may make bonding difficult,” Misako said. “Unless you are bonding with a sumo or a whale.”

“Landers have it easy. Their parents just arrange the marriage and it’s done.”

“Well at least we can hope that your bondeds are not attached to boathooks like my thickheaded husband.”

Jacob showed up and dropped the chairs off and left. Shortly after, the compelled brought in an old wooden table. “Well at least they got us the chairs”,I said. “Now all they have to do is fix the water.”

We crawled into the chairs, rolled over to our dresses and put them on. Haruka said“Check the door. Maybe it isn’t locked.”

I rolled over and the door opened right up. I peeked into a dark hallway. “They must not use this part of the building for anything.”

If I remembered the floor plans we found, this end of the building had the pool, a gym across the hall that shared locker rooms with the pool and there was a space marked “shop” next to the gym. The other ladies crowded behind me as I rolled across the hall and opened the door on an empty gym like the one we had had at school before my life Changed. I rolled down the hall a bit and turned back when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. We were back by the table when the compelled came in and took the breakfast dishes away. I said to them, “serve our meals here at the table from now on, please. I think that will work out better for everybody.”

They nodded and left with their cart. We scooted back out behind them and I went over to the other door in the little section of the hall. I opened the door and there was a place of wonder. In neat rows, tied to shafts in the ceiling were lathes, mills and drill presses. Along the back wall, under the windows, was a bench with a row of vices along it. As the other ladies peeked in I said, “Tom will want to see this. I wonder what powers the shafts.”

Haruka said, “This isn’t quite as good as guns in the basement, but it’s close. You wanted trouble kits and here’s a big one. We don’t even need the machines, really. Look on the walls.”

She was right. There on the walls were all sorts of tools, neatly arrayed. “I wonder why they just left it like this.”

“The Martins didn’t care anymore,” I said. “At least Jacob didn’t. Putting the tools up for sale may have been more trouble than it was worth. Or moving them, for that matter.”

“I think that somebody’s coming,” Masami said. “Let’s go back for the time being.”

The people coming turned out to be the kids, first the girls and then the boys. They came into the pool and Vicky said, “we’re hiding for a bit.”

“From who?”

“The wolves. They came back and they frightened us.”

I rolled over to where my purse was still hanging. “You are safe with us. We won’t let the wolves hurt you.”

I hung the purse over the arm of the chair. Haruka had done the same thing. I turned to one of the boys and said, “Joey, would you like to learn something fun?”

“yeah, sure.”


I pulled one of the tubes of water that had the ends shut, out of my purse, pointed it at the wall, and with a twinge of water magic, set it off. There was a small hole in the wall. “These are easy to make and there’s a shop right across the hall with more tubes in it. I’m going up front to see if Mr. Martin or somebody else that I can speak to is here. You should not have to worry about wolves brought in for something else.”

I rolled out into the hall. Any wolves coming down here were going to die anyway. All the ladies had those tubes in our purses and all of us had sat through Bill’s little lecture, twice in my case. I rolled around the corner and into the lighted hallway. There was a door at the other end and noise coming through the door. I went discreet and decided to listen. One of the voices was a rather pissed off Ed. “”They were peasants and didn’t matter?” Is that what you were thinking, fool? Just because they were farmers? Are you all really that stupid? I manage to keep things discreet for ten years and in less than ten days you all have managed to get more attention pointed at this place than it ever had before. Never mind the activities of this clown, who managed to run an operation so sloppy that the loose ends unraveled even before you have sent any demands to the target. A target that has the White House direct number memorized because he has used it so often. A target that has J. Edgar Hoover as a party guest. Then you take the woman that no one else on the east coast would ever dream of kidnapping, create an international incident and personally insult the emperor of Japan to boot. Didn’t any of you think to ask any questions about the target or even check the papers? It was all there, right on the front page.

Then this clown indulges himself with a farm down state and might as well have stamped, werewolf in the neighborhood and then to follow that up, chewed up the sheriff’s cousin, who was a member of the most politically connected family in the area. To say nothing of the fact that the Sheriff here is the long time friend of the Bentons across the lake and all that that implies. I had a deal with Bill. I go deep in the woods where my monster can’t hurt anybody unless by accident and he doesn’t launch a hunt against me. A hunt that would be very bad for this place. By and large we both kept the deal, though he was annoyed by last month even when I explained that it was an accident. That won’t stop Tom’s brother in law from hunting me, but he has professionals working for him and they know how to be discreet, unlike this fool. Bill is going to want a werewolf. I’m giving him one, this fool. Any objections? No? Good. Now if I had my way, I would boot you all right back where you came from and return Mrs. Benton to her husband before he and she really get going.  You poor stupid fools.

Some deputies will be showing up soon and I’m handing this fool over. Hopefully that will keep a lid on things. I’m sending the Director a telegram to be sent on to the masters about this mess. Then I will be away for a while. Do yourselves a big favor, close this up, call the Benton farm and tell Greta to send Tom or Noro to pick Chrissie and the other ladies up and then run, as fast as you can to the first boat you can get and get out of the country.”

He was heading for the door and I ducked into a classroom across the hall. I looked out the window as Ed dragged what must be the Captain out the drive as one of Bill’s cars drove up. I didn’t think that Bill had any fae deputies and I wondered who he would send. It turned out to be Tom and Bob, with Tom holding the Captain as Bob cuffed him and then Bob stuffed him into the back seat and got in with him and I waved at Tom as he got into the driver’s seat and they drove off. Ed came back in and said quietly, “Chrissie, you can come out now. Why don’t I roll you back to the pool?” “Ok, Ed.”

We rolled back and once we were down the hall and the people in the room could not hear us I said, “Gretchen and the kids are doing well. She misses you, but understands.”

“Those Idiots! They came over to “evaluate the Director’s operations” and the first thing they did was go after Tom, with werewolves. Without bothering to actually collect any intelligence about him. Other than paying Hilda a huge chunk of money for information that they already should have had or was irrelevant. In five cartons, no less. None of which tells then what they really need to know. I threw that in and these people think that Tom just plays with shiny toys. Shiny toys that are in the process of making Tom a very wealthy man. Shiny toys that Tom uses to do things that these clowns don’t understand.

It’s not as if Tom could hide most of what he is involved in lately. All they have to do is look at what’s happening in town. That parade should be a clue and that was just the boys. Showing off for their mentor and favorite uncle. I know that Tom was working up to something. I tried to get my father separate from Tom so that Tom would get buried under getting the Games finished and then go back down to the Cape and leave us alone and they dragged him right here. They “drove him away.” Right, Which is why Bob and Scott were set up right outside for the last two weeks. Especially last week where the werewolf idiots can’t even look out the window, let alone do a sweep of the hills over there.

Then the first thing they do as part of their “Investigation” is take you, and I know that you are up to something. To add insult to injury the stupid fools indulge themselves downstate and then pick Bill’s cousin to chew on, not that they should have been chewing on anybody around here. I just hope that handing the Captain over will keep Bill Jacobs from going all out.”

“What about Tom?”

“Tom will work things the same way he does with his sister. I know that he has something planned for my father, I noticed that my niece was absent from the area and while I can find Bob easily enough by looking out the window here, Scott is nowhere to be found. Good thinking there. Are they enjoying a quick trip on the Cape.”

“I don’t know where they are, actually. My grandfather was handling that and we had several options in mind.”

“In any case, I don’t want to know. I’ve run into Tom at our old hunting blind, another thing the Captain never seems to have considered. For somebody who claimed he had military training he never thought to do a sweep of the overlooking terrain to make sure that nobody was overlooking. What an idiot.”

“I guess he didn’t check the cellars either then?”

“What’s in the cellar?” “Nothing, I hope. One cellar with guns in it where hostages are being kept is ridiculous. Two is just silly.”

“Considering that the hostages must have involved the Manager, the guns must have been in the cellar where Andy was.”

“Yes they were. Andy inherited a very nice shotgun from that. Perfect for duck hunting and construct shoots. There was a nice little shop there too. Not as nice as the one here though.”

“You found that already.”

“We did, though we don’t know how the shafts are powered.”

“Electric motor in the cellar. The power box is right by the door. Don’t make too much noise. You might scare the Board.”

“Do you think that they will leave?”

“No. They think that they are winning. After all, they have you.”

“Yes they have me, just a stupid girl with a tail. Who can’t even walk and needs to be kept in a pool.”

“Chrissie, I know what you did to George with a couple of phone calls. I know what you were planning to do to keep Tom on the Cape if he tried to run when you dropped into his boat. Along with what you did to my father. For that matter I know what your grandfather can get up to, another thing those idiots up front didn’t seem to have considered, which is amazing because he is right next door. So don’t try to pull that helpless mermaid thing on me.”

“Where are you going?”

“Away, for as long as I can, which won’t be long enough, I’m afraid. Between my compulsions and the keystone wanting to be protected I will be forced to return and placed into the middle of things. At some point the stress or the need will bring the monster out and Bill or Tom will kill it, and me. If I go visibly away, I can draw whatever hunt the Sheriff does put out and keep things from being a bloodbath long enough for Tom to do whatever he’s going to do. Here’s your hallway. Take care of the kids, will you?”

I turned around and watched his tragic figure go back up the hall. Then I turned back and rolled down the hall to the pool. The kids were still there and looking rather scared. “I talked to Ed Martin and he had the Captain arrested. I doubt that the Captain will be coming back.”

“What about the rest of the wolves?” Terry asked.

“They just had a brutal demonstration of who the top dog is here and what can happen to them if they misbehave. Handing a werewolf to Tom to play with is just going to get the poor thing sort of dead.”

“Tom kills werewolves?”

“Yes, along with sharks and dark fae. He shoots Necromancers too, now that I think about it, and Twisted. He’s almost as bad as daddy. I was trying to wean him off shooting monsters, but these idiots showed up and took me away from him. Well they were asking for Tom’s bad side and then there’s daddy, along with my grandfather, brothers, sister, my mother, aunts, uncles and Tom’s brothers and sisters too. I hope that Mr. Martin knew to order enough Chrissie’s crab for a big party, because the monster shoot these people have kicked off is going to be huge. I wish that they would let me call Ray and make sure that he sends a lot of beer. When Jacob shows up I will tell him to call down and make the connection.”


Sunday, 1/24, 1932.

As they were packing the body away, Bill said, “By the way, my people found the fish truck this morning at the base of that cliff near the lake. We sent people down and the drivers had been killed before the truck went over the cliff. There was no trace of the girls.” “Chrissie and the rest are ok. Chrissie waved at me when I was picking that up.”

“We could go and get her.”

“Not without setting things off and making the county a bloodbath. I also want to shut down the self destruct and make sure that the innocents inside can be handled before we go in. Sal has done one of these before and I imagine that he and the rest of the bureau will be on their way next week. I need to check in with Josh and Noro. What do you think that Ed is going to do?”

“Get himself out of the center of things. Keep his monster under control. He’s had a bad deal all the way around. I think he would kill himself if he could, but he can’t. He’s tried to keep the weird and the strange from hurting people up here and by and large he’s been a success. Then this thing started up. This clown actually thought that he and the rest of them could chew on random farmers and nobody would care. So he comes over from where ever he came from and starts chewing on people? After taking your wife and the friends of the Japanese prince to boot?”

He shook his head in disbelief as I turned to Bob and said, “Do you want to go back to the blind, or home?” “I’ll go home with you. I need to be in school tomorrow anyway. Scott and Lizzie should be back, if they don’t keep them in the city.”

“I imagine that Helmut, Mary and some people are coming up after Chrissie was taken.”

“More than likely, now that they know where she is. Chrissie’s crab. Actually there was some at the party and it was good stuff.”

“That was fairly obvious. I want to check something when we cross the lake.” “What?”

“Remember what happened at the pool when Chrissie and I first tried it. Well I’ll bet that they did the same thing at the academy and that Chrissie complained about the water. She also probably told them about the tank cars over here. I wanted to see if they had gotten to them yet.”

“Should we put a guard on them? Or maybe play some games with the boys if they come over?”

“Not yet, but we may want to use the loads for other things if they steal the water. Slipping inside the academy, for instance. I think that we will want to check in with Chrissie and find the self destruct so that we can disable it. As far as we know, Jacob doesn’t even know that you reflected those two.”

“So when do you want them to do their dance?”

“I think Friday, actually. We start them at the restaurant and have them dancing their way down the street and dancing at the rink. That way we can use them for a distraction from other things. ”

“That will work. I also think that we will have them milk the cows at Roger’s farm until the family clears things up. Do all the dairy work for that matter. I’ll talk to Bill about that next weekend.”

“Do that. That will be messy and the first hard work those two have ever done. At this point, if Jacob complains, he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on.” We crossed the lake on the ferry and once we were over I drove across to the team track in the freight yard where our two tank cars were waiting to be unloaded. The steam lines that would make sure that the water would not freeze when we were emptying the cars were ready to go but I could see no signs that somebody had tried to empty them yet. I turned to Bob and said, “it looks like this is well lighted. So if they come and take the water, they shouldn’t have any trouble.”

“Do you think that they will go for it?” “I think that Jacob was told to do whatever Chrissie told him to do to make herself comfortable and keep her alive. Not being a seafolk himself, he has no clue what is involved in doing that. So we will see Jacob do strange things. Stealing wheelchairs, for instance. Especially since the clowns over there still probably believe that we have no clue where Chrissie is. Never mind the fact that having the Captain confess should tell them that we now know where Chrissie is even if we didn’t know before.”

We arrived at the house and walked into the living room. Josh said, “things sort of blew up over there. Will that cause you any trouble?”

“Ed got on top of it and handed the top dog over to Bob and I to turn over to Bill. The “Captain” managed to end things fairly quickly when he ran into some buckshot after Boris peeled him clean. So what have you been up too?”

“Watching the kids make things up for you and giving them some pointers.You better use the noisemakers now that you have them. Making some calls and getting some of that production you wanted started. Taking calls from some people looking for you and wanting to know how they can help. Making arrangements for more tank beds and some people to modify rooms at the inn next week. Helmut and a chunk of his people are on the way up, along with Mary, Hilda and Bill, Mike and Nera are coming up tomorrow with Tim, Sal, Suzy, Sillia, Tochi and the rest. Sal and Mike are driving up in the Duesie. Al and Eltra are staying in Boston for the moment until we have enough tank beds. So what happened last night to set things off? Steve, Joe and Moira along with two of his platoons should get here tomorrow morning. The other two are coming up Thursday.”

“Ed had to go out in the woods so his monster couldn’t hurt anybody. So he couldn’t drag the rest of the werewolves out in the woods when they got back from taking Chrissie. So they went and found a random farm to chew on. Roger Jacob’s farm.”

“Roger was Bill’s cousin,” father said. “His father, John is state senator. John’s brother, Jim, Bill’s father was the local congressman until he passed away four years ago. The family is still very politically connected. So these clowns made it personal with some local heavyweights as well as the other heavyweights they have already made it personal with. Ed did the right thing when he turned the guy over. Bill was probably ready to raise the kind of stink that we can’t afford right now. I imagine that Jacob is not feeling very good right now.”

“Did they find the fish truck?” Josh asked.

“Yes they did. It was at the bottom of a cliff. The idiots had killed the drivers. Another “loose end.” I don’t think that they considered that anybody finding the truck would check back to the owners and find out why it was so far from where it normally goes. Since the truck was spotted right from the start and tracked, the truck would have led to them, in the end, regardless. Did they not consider that the truck was probably seen by hundreds of “loose ends” on its way up here?”

“I’ve seen that before. My first Necromancer, in fact. He started out taking people to rob barges. Then a kid saw him and he took the kid. Then he had to take the parents, which created yet more witnesses, until he finally took a friend of mine’s kid and I went to figure out who the clown was. He tried to Turn me and when he failed, Changed. The Necromancer Change is a zombie. So I knifed him, essentially chopped his head off and sank the body.”

“The Necromancer Change is a zombie?”

“Yes. They call them zombie masters, because they keep Turning everybody they can reach until they are killed or are exhausted, when they release their Change in the middle of a huge mess.” “Who would want to DO that to themselves?”

‘I don’t know, but that is why I told Tim that encountering a Necromancer was unlikely. With this new crowd, that may have changed.”

“I saw Chrissie in the window when we went to pick up the clown. She looked as if she was fine. Ed probably saw her too, but I doubt that he’s going to give her away.”

“Neither do I. I don’t think that they would hurt her anyway even if they did find her.”

“I’ll check up with her on Tuesday, I think, unless something happens. Now that the mermaids can move around the building, Chrissie can do some of the things that we need done.”

Boris came in. “That one was ugly. The monster had taken over. He was looking forward to eating Chrissie and the rest after this was over. He confessed to Roger and the one down near Albany as well as taking Chrissie. Whoever sent him was remarkably foolish.”

A crowd of kids came in with my sister following behind. “Tom, I think that you will like what we did. Some noisemakers, lots of exploding boats, some exploding skates, those little cars, the rockets and even some press corps after we found some leftovers from the Manager with those shutter things. What happened over there? Bill sounded rather upset when mother was talking to him.”

“The werewolves hit Roger Jacob’s farm and killed him and his family,” I said. “Bill thought that Ed was responsible and Ed handed the werewolf leader over to calm things down. Ed had Bob and I do the pickup for obvious reasons and Boris did the interview. The werewolf tried to escape and I killed him.”

“I think that he wanted to die,” Boris said. “We ecountered this in the werewolves we fought. The monster takes over, but the man has to live with what the monster does. Bill said that Ed tried to deal with the monster by putting the monster where it couldn’t hurt somebody and then when dealing with the people who created the monster, playing as if the monster was always there. The one good thing was Gretchen and his kids and he was very careful to never let his masters know that they existed.”

“He said that to me when he asked me to get his kids out of the eyes of the other side.”

Noro came in with Helmut and Mary. Noro said, “Hilda and Bill are at the Sheriff’s office, catching up. Any news on Chrissie?”

“She’s fine and mobile inside the academy,” I said. “She saw us take the clown responsible for hitting Roger Jacob’s farm in. Ed turned him over to us. What a bunch of idiots. Bill is pissed and I just hope that he can keep a lid on the rest of the family for a few days. I don’t want to be stepping over National Guard types quite yet and I don’t think any of us want massive manhunt looking into things that might trip off something.”

“A big manhunt could work to our advantage,” Noro said. “We can hide things inside it.”

“I know and a manhunt that started on Wednesday in the wrong places and moved closer is something that I could use. But starting tomorrow, before Steve gets here and General Vickers has his people in place could do the one thing I want to avoid, start a blood bath.”

“Bill and I talked about that,” Boris said. “We agreed to hold off on starting a humt so that we could get things organized. Also Ed tripped a speed trap, heading west out of the County. He got away aross the County line. He was in Roger Jacob’s stolen car. We’ll proably find it near some park or camp someplace. He was probably trying to dump the car.”

“Apparently Jacob has a compulsive desire for Chrissie’s crab,” Helmut said. “He ordered a large quantity from the market in Wood’s Hole. A large quantity of salt as well.”

“I know,” I said. “He arranged to have the wheelchairs borrowed from the office as well. Fortunately Chrissie won’t be at the office and if I need her there, I’ll take the chair with her. This has to be the clumsiest thing like this in history.”

“Tom, how about you make the rounds tomorrow and be on the job sites all morning,” Noro said. “Take a car and go with Mark and the camera. I want updates. Talk to the food people too.”

“I can do that. That way nobody can find me. I wonder who they are going to use to present their demands. If it’s Jacob, I’ll just beat him up again and get rid of him.”

Hilda and Bill came in followed by mother calling dinner.

As we all sat down, Hilda said, “I talked to Bill Jacobs. He says that you shot another werewolf.”

“I didn’t even use a special this time. Thank you, Bill.”

“You’re welcome. So how is Chrissie?”

“Fine when I saw her in the window. I don’t believe that the Chrissie’s crab has arrived yet. So the ladies must be suffering somewhat. I hope that they change the pool water soon, so far the tank cars are unmolested and the pool at the inn will be ready by Wednesday anyway.”

“So you saw her? At the academy?”

“Yes. When I was busting the idiot who was responsible for Roger and taking him down to Bill’s. She was at the window at the front of the building, a long way from the pool.”

“Has anybody tried to you communicate with you at all, Tom?” Helmut asked.

“Not that I have heard about. Other than Ed wanting me to bust the werewolf. Admittedly, I haven’t been easy to find all weekend. But as far as I can tell they haven’t even tried. Father, has anybody called?”

“Other than Director Hoover and Miss Vicky, no. That is other than Mary, who is right here and I would expect anyway. There hasn’t been anything in the mail or a telegram.”

“Well maybe they are sending it to the company address or the business office on the Cape. I’ll check my mail at the office before making the round tomorrow. Or maybe something urgent will come up and I won’t be able to.”

“I think that I have an urgent task coming right now,” Noro said. “Too bad that you didn’t have time to check your mail. It’s also too bad that that strange envelope was lost.” He grinned. “If they want to play games, we can play games.”

“Tom, the plant in Schnectedy has issues that I want you to take care of on Tuesday,” Josh said. “Plan to leave right from here in the car. We need the pumps for the water main yesterday, so this is urgent.”

“I can handle that,” I said, grinning. “Along with talking to the steel fabricator in Troy that I need to talk with and get the stands singed off on. I need to get those things signed off and shipped anyway.”

After dinner, I said to Stephie, “did the kids clean up the shop?”

“Yes they did, why?”

“I want go and see what I can come up with.”

“May I come with you?”

“I was hoping that you would ask.”

We went out the barn that we used for storage. “Why are we coming out here?”

“Well this is where the gun scrap is. When I did the original noisemakers, I didn’t have any rifle barrels. We still have plenty and there are a bunch that are unusable because they are not straightened. Larry can do that, and so can I, but at this point it’s easier to have a custom barrel made for the cartridge the customer wants unless it’s .30-06. For what I want it for, being perfectly straight is not going to be a problem.”

“What do you want them for?”

“Instant sharpshooter who can’t hit the broad side of a barn.”

She grinned. “I think that I see what you are getting at. You set those up at points on the overlook and set them off from time to time. We haven’t seen the “residents” outside since we started looking at the place, have we?”

We dug through the pile and pulled about ten prospects and then we found the real treasure, a BAR barrel and receiver where the barrel had been obviously bent well out of line in manufacture. “We can use this,” Stephie said.

“Oh, yes we can. Let’s take these over to the shop and I will make up some sketches.”

I took our load and we went over to the shop, where the kids had stacks of various gags ready to go, along with quite a few noise maker blocks. “This is wonderful. I was going to pull some drawings and have them printed, but they worked from the books. I hope you got pictures.” “We did. For Chrissie, if nothing else. You will put these to good use, of course.”

“Of course.”

I set the rifle barrels and the rest down on the bench. “I’ll sketch up what I want and the boys and I can make them up when I get back in the afternoon.”

“Well I need to get the kids and my bear and go home, so let’s go back to the house.”

We crossed over the barnyard back to the house and I went to my old room to start sketching up my ideas for the rifle barrels. I was so focused on what I was doing that I never noticed Stephie phase through the door until the flashbulb went off. As I turned around, she phased right back out and I heard her giggling as she ran up the hall. I decided that I really didn’t want to play hide and seek tonight, so I went back to work. Chrissie was going to want a picture anyway. I thought that I would ask Stephie to get Chrissie a camera tomorrow. Then I thought about something. If Jacob was getting stuff delivered to the academy, there was no reason that I couldn’t. I decided that I would call the toy company in the morning. Twenty or so trouble kits, along with a camera and some flashbulbs were going to get delivered to the academy. Some .22 cartridges and firecrackers while I was thinking about it.

I finished the sketches and went to bed.



The Director.

Sunday, 1/24, 1932.

Ghost sent me yet another invitation to Bennies. Strangely this time, she wasn’t asking for money. Not that I had very much. Most of my revenue sources were gone with the rest of it and the funds that came in from over seas were being handled by the board during my “evaluation.” Of course the people “evaluating” me were proving just how well I had done by demonstrating just how easy it was to mess things up completely. Taking Mrs. Benton, tail and all was all over the front pages with an irate Japanese prince and his wife, Director Hoover threatening, wedding pictures of Tom and Chrissie, The White House being concerned and pictures of the truck that the werewolves had used with a request to call in if the truck was spotted. The other half of the front page was devoted to what they said was a rabid wolf attack. Apparently the werewolves had indulged themselves for dinner. Never mind the fact that doing that told everybody who was involved which way the werewolves were going.

The Necromancer was supposed to report after tying up a loose end and retrieving some potential photographs and had vanished. I was tempted to go down to the scene, but if the Necromancer had failed, and he probably had, then the photographer still be there and he knew what I looked like. So I was in the dark about what happened. Since Ghost wasn’t asking for more than lunch, I decided to go ahead and go. So I called the cab, Karl was waiting when I arrived at the subway station and we drove down to Bennies. Bennies was quiet today with just a few customers and Ghost with a young man waiting for me, which was a change.

“Hello, D. Meet Tim Thomas. He would like to ask you some questions and is willing to trade what he knows about how Tom operates in exchange.”

“Why would you do that? You don’t seem to be asking for money or Ghost would have told me to bring money.”

“Not money up front. I want to exchange information about the sharks and their story for my inside stuff seeing Tom in action.”

“Won’t that get you in trouble with Tom?”

“I won’t tell him, if you won’t. But not really, in any case. He’s not too concerned about people knowing what he did in the last thing he did because he’s going to change things up and even if you know, it probably won’t help you. So he’s fine with me talking to you. Especially if I can close up the sharks in the process.”

“Don’t you need money?”

“Not really. I’ve been paid very well recently and I have inherited some businesses that can provide me with money if I need it. I’m only seventeen and won’t be able to really access the money anyway. But if I close up the sharks, I can share that with Noro and exchange that for getting Noro to talk about business and the Street. That’s where the real money is. I’m in an apprentiship right now with my paper for the business section and picking Noro’s and some other people’s brains about things will be a big help to me.”

“Why should I talk to you?”

“Here’s a freebie.”

He put a picture on the table. The picture was of a dead zombie master. “This was your Necromancer.”

“What happened?”

“He was troubleshot. By me, in fact. He was messing around trying to kill a kid who was in the wrong place at the wrong time because some idiots couldn’t take the time to find a discreet place to do their business and went back to try to find the witnesses. These are your people. From what I’ve seen, they need all the help they can get. Especially going up against Tom. So here is how I want it to work. You ask a question and if I can answer it you owe me a question. If you can’t answer a question, I get another one until you can. So why don’t you start.”

“How did Tom find out about the manager?”

“You should have that one already. Ghost, did you tell him? I thought Tom gave you the Ok for that?”

“Humor me,” I said.

“Tom’s brother told him the Manager’s name before Tom killed his brother. Here’s my first one. How did the first Tooth find out about Noro’s wife coming down the coast?”

“He had an indentured with a connection to the Rockaway bower. Both the indentured and child are gone, Tooth killed the indentured when the child was too old and the child was Turned and later destroyed by the bureau. The indentured was killed about three years ago and the child was destroyed with the rest of the Manager’s Twisted. My turn. How did Tom find the Manager’s location.”

“Andy. The Manager left him his school bag full of cartridges and Andy made exploding boats with the other kids and Tom found them. We were also tracking the sharks and the car at that point. My turn. Was the indentured’s name, Vella?”

“Yes, she was a land fae who had a long time connection with the Rockaway bower and was friends with the queens of both the Cape and Rockaway bowers. How did Tom find out where the sharks lived?”

“Noro trapped them during that ambush and got all their names and addresses. Were there any other connections to the Rockaway bower that the sharks had?”

I answered no to that question and we went back and forth through lunch as he kept notes on everything. I was amazed at the depth of his knowledge of the affairs and he stopped me several times when he was fairly sure that I had the answer to a question already. After my last question, “how much did Tom’s devices rely on his abilities?”

“None at all, during the Manager. He wasn’t very skilled with them, or more likely he was hiding what he could do from his sister, so as not to spoil the surprise at the wedding. MY last question is, may I take your picture for my album of New York People that I am building. The bureau already has one from the mermaid transfer, so my taking one will not change anything. I will have this typed up by Ghost’s secretary for you.”

“Thank you. Why not?”

So he did. I paid the bill and left. One thing that I learned was that dealing with Tom was not going to be easy and my new supervisors were out of their depth. But I was down here and they were up there, with Tom and Chrissie. If young Andrew had had a gun, I could take it for granted that Chrissie did as well. When I arrived at my office there was a rather nasty telegram from Edward saying that all our operations up there were in jeopardy due to the actions of the Board and the werewolves thanks to them being permitted to feed on the farm of a powerfully connected relative of the sheriff. Edward had given the Captain to Tom as a peace offering so that the sheriff did not kick off an immediate manhunt. Then Edward was going to try to attract attention to himself and away from the academy. He recommended that the Masters recall the Board for incompetence immediately and pull out the operation and return Chrissie to Tom. He also insisted that the telegram be forwarded to the Masters. I went down to Western Union and did that, but I suspected that it would do no good. The Masters were not known for quick decision making and I expected that one way or another, things would be over before I received any word back. I also suspected from the way Edward was talking that the Board was playing right into Tom’s hands. As well as being foreigners playing on the ground that Tom grew up in and without any local assistance now that Edward was out of the picture.


Monday, 1/25, 1932.

After dinner last night we had tried the lights and then the motor in the shop and neither of them worked. Neither did the lights in the hall or the gym. Since Jacob didn’t seem to want to show up for some reason, I decided to take matters into my own hands. So when the compelled came into clear the dishes, I asked, “Who is in charge of the electricity?”

Once she had the dishes on the cart, she motioned me to follow her and I rolled behind her until we reached a little office with tools on the walls and a funny old man inside. I said to him, “We would like some lights in the hall, the gym and the shop, could you fix them?”

He picked up a wooden paddle and motioned me to follow him. I rolled as he walked to a freight elevator and we went downstairs into the cellar. He went up to the electrical board and pointed at the fuses for the lights in the hall, the gym and the shop and then questionly at the motor fuse and I said, “yes.”

As he was plugging the fuses in, I looked around. There was a small bowling alley and a set of doors with “range” marked on them. I rolled over and there was a very nice range with a very nice set of gun cabinets along the wall. I went through the doors and opened the first cabinet. There was a row of well oiled rifles of a kind that I was not familiar with. I opened the next cabinet. More rifles. I went through all the cabinets and there were twenty of the rifles and a stack of the single shot learning rifles. In a little cubby was a stack of boxes of ammunition, some of which was. 22 and the rest was marked .30-40 Krag, which meant it was for the rifle. I pulled a box and then went back to the cabinet and pulled one of the rifles. Then I went back outside where the man was waiting for me next to the elevator. He looked at the rifle, but didn’t say anything and when we reached the first floor I rolled back to the pool as he went back to his office. As I rolled into the pool I said, “I may seem silly, but there are limits.”

I put the rifle and the ammunition on the table.

“Where did you find that?” Haruka asked .

“In the basement, where else. What kind of rifle is this?”

“A Krag, They were the issue about forty years ago.”

“Do you know how to load it?”

“This little door. You push the cartridges in there.”

I loaded the rifle. “I’m going to talk to somebody about these. This is beyond ridiculous.”

I picked the rifle back up, rolled back out and looked for a compelled. When I found one sweeping the floor, I asked, “Where are the werewolves bunked and where is the phone?”

He pointed down the hall and then put his hand next to his ear and pointed down another hall. “Thank you.”

I rolled down to where there were two people in an office talking. “I need to make a call.”

They looked confused and I said, “Just hand me the phone.”

One of them did and I just picked it up and said, “Bob, or whoever is there. I need a truck here at the academy in about an hour. You need to make a pickup. There is ridiculous and there is just plain silly. I will explain when somebody gets here.”

I handed the phone back and said, “Thank you.” She took the phone back as if I was handing her a snake.

Then I turned around to head toward the werewolves. The bunkroom seemed to be empty except for five of them playing cards. “Where is your leader?”

They ignored me. I could fix that. I picked up the rifle, worked the bolt and fired. There was a large hole through the ace of Spades. They stood up rather quickly I said, “Where is your leader?”

Blank stares, looking rather scared. They apparently did not speak English.

“Ok, you, you, you and you, come with me.”

I rolled back out and then down the hall as they followed along. When I found the compelled with the broom, I asked, “where is the kitchen? I want some of those carts.”

He pointed and down the hall we went. When we reached the kitchen I pointed to four of the carts. “Bring those.”

I rolled over to the elevator and we went back downstairs and I led my little troop over to the range. I started loading the carts with rifles. When I was done, I led my little troop back upstairs and down the hall toward the front door. As we went down the hall another werewolf showed up. “Woman! What are you doing with my men?”

“Your job. If you are going to take me hostage I insist that it not be in a place with guns in the basement. Well at least not military rifles. That is just silly. I left the learning rifles for the kids. If you can’t take care that your hostages cannot equip themselves easily with military grade rifles then all of you might as well march yourselves to Bill’s office and turn yourselves in. I insist that my husband’s opponents be at least moderately capable of being a reasonable challenge and so far you are pathetic. If you don’t shape up real fast, you all won’t make it to the weekend. Now let’s get these rifles to the front where they can be picked up.”

“I won’t take orders from you!”

I waved the rifle in his face. “Ok, then you fail the intelligence test. Woman with loaded rifle makes the rules. You can either do what I say or run down the hall. Who knows, you might actually get lucky.”

I worked the bolt and fired. A light bulb way down the hall disappeared and I worked the bolt again. “It’s your choice. By the way, the last time I shot something, it was a werewolf, with a pistol, normal round, a single shot and it died. So don’t think that your Change will protect you. And don’t even think of any funny stuff when we get outside. Now let’s get this show on the road before the truck gets here.”

I waved my rifle at my little troop and we started off again with the officer following along behind. When we got to the front door the truck wasn’t there yet. There was also a rather bedraggled flower pot on a stand. I turned to the officer, “is it lieutenant or sergeant?”


“Ok, since the truck isn’t here yet I want to demonstrate just how stupid you are being. Have two of your men put that flower pot in the driveway and come back inside.”

He gave some orders and they put the pot on the driveway. As they came inside I rolled out, waved the rifle, put it to my shoulder and pointed. There was a crack and the pot exploded. “Apparently they never taught you to sweep the overlook for somebody overlooking. As long as you are with me, you are safe out here. Otherwise, who knows?”

They looked rather scared.

The truck showed up and Brian said, “Hey Chrissie, what’s going on?”

“I refuse to be silly because somebody is an idiot. Take these rifles, please. They were in the basement. There is a range down there and these were in the gun cabinets with ammunition for them.”

My little troop started to hand the rifles over to Brian and Don, who put them in the back of the truck.

“Do you want to come with us, Chrissie?”

“Not right now, the other ladies and the kids need me. Maybe I can make these into competent adversaries for Tom, but it’s very hard.”

They drove out again and I rolled back inside and back toward the pool. The lieutenant looked as if he was about to tear my head off and changed his mind. The others looked rather frightened of me.

When I arrived at the pool, Haruka asked, “So what happened?”

“I had the werewolves do their jobs. I’m sorry, but rifles and ammunition for them in a building that you are keeping hostages is not allowed. I also gave them a rather sharp lesson in maintaining a perimeter and placing sentries. If a nineteen year old mermaid can figure that out, a trained soldier should do that without thinking about it.”

“How did you know about those things?”

“You know Roger. Well he was born into Change, but saw some soldiers marching down the beach one day and ever since has been wanting to be in the army, including reading about it. So he got books, books that ended up in daddy’s house with the rest of them because he lived down below and only came up top for school. I read everything that I could get my hands on after mom went under sea and I was lonely. I wanted to prove to daddy and grandfather how smart I was especially after grandfather left to go under sea so much. Then there were Roger’s West Point textbooks that also ended up in daddy’s house right before I went under sea. So I know about that stuff. They are lucky that Steve and Joe aren’t here.”


“Because your bonded and my other brother would put the rifles back, just to bother me and scare them.”

She giggled. ‘He would, wouldn’t he? I think that we should stay out of the basement from now on.”

“That wouldn’t help. If they do that, the rifle that I was using would appear here in the pool, or nearby where I would likely find it. I just hope that mother clamps down on them before they get started. Those poor werewolves might not be up to the strain.”

“Well this will be my first opportunity to see them in action. After our bonding, Steve has been rather well behaved and responsible, according to Mabel. Especially after I got here.”

“I think that he’s afraid of you.But now that he can show off by rescuing you, he’s going to go all out.”

“You think so? He needs to. He’s been slouching lately and the boys are getting sloppy. If Steve puts the rifles back, let’s scatter them around for the werewolves to find. Then they can be responsible for them. Why don’t we check out the shop, now that we have lights.”

We rolled over to the shop and turned on the lights. The shop had been left clean and orderly and there was even some wood and steel in the material rack as well as left over projects that various students had made, including one by Jacob. “I guess that he wasn’t as hopeless as I thought.”

“I wonder what changed,” Nanami said.

“This was probably before his father died and he had to take over. Then Ed happened and this place was turned.” I looked at the clock and it was almost noon.

I think that it’s about time that we went back for lunch.”

We did and Jacob showed up with the lady and the cart. “The lieutenant was rather upset by you.”

“Well I can’t help that. If they had been doing their jobs properly, I wouldn’t have had to do it. If they can’t be bothered to search a building for weapons, I can’t help them. What should I have done? Shot them all?”

“I think that that would annoy your husband. The husband I spent all morning trying to find and couldn’t. Doesn’t he want to hear our demands.”

“Well, unlike you, he has work to do, people relying on him to get it done and a deadline. So he doesn’t have time to stop and indulge you. I’m sure that he will fit you in at some point.”

“Isn’t he afraid that we might hurt you or kill you?”

“Oh, yes, but as long as you can’t get in touch with him, you probably won’t do something stupid. Hurting or killing any of us comes under the category of very, very stupid. So what happened to that werewolf yesterday?” “He was taken over to Bill’s, Boris took his confession, his monster was triggered and Tom killed him.”

“Have you told the Board what happened?”

“I can’t discuss the Board with you?”

“Well if they won’t talk to me, how will I know what they want. If they are trying to hide who they are from me, so that I can’t tell Tom, tell them not to bother.Tom almost certainly knows who they are already and so do the Bureau and the FBI. Could you arrange for some newpapers? I want to see what’s happening outside.”

“I will ask. It should not be a big deal.”

“Good, have you made progress on the water? It’s been rather uncomfortable.”

“We have some trucks and will make the exchange tonight.” “Be careful. I imagine that Bob and Scott are up to something and my brother may be out there someplace. Since the board insisted that they take me, both of my brothers are probably out there. If not today, certainly by tomorrow. Tell the lieutenant to put extra guards out or the rifles will be back downstairs.”

“Do you think so?”

“If they are both here, I would bet on it. Along with some whoopie cushions or something worse. Tell the Lieutenant to check the bunks carefully before they go to bed tonight. We discovered my father’s parents recently and they had some interesting skills that they were willing to teach us. We have all been practicing, so those two are just looking for an opportunity to do something like that.”

“The crab you wanted should be here this evening.”

“Oh, good! The ladies are looking forward to it. Tell the cook to come and get me and I will show them how to prepare it properly. I’ve eaten them raw all too frequently, but they are so much better with butter. Why don’t you bring Helen and we can have a bake?”

“I can’t involve Helen in this. She doesn’t know a thing about this. I need to go.”

He left and as we ate lunch, Nanami said quietly, “I just sensed my brother moving along outside. He’s probably with his friends.”

“Tom more than likely told him where you were. So it’s natural that he wants to check things out. I also imagine that there will be fun stuff involved at some point.”

After lunch the kids came in, “We want to be away from the werewolves, even though you really scared them.”

“The lieutenant didn’t seem that scared.”

“He was real scared and pushing the other werewolves around.”

“Well we got the shop going this morning, so why don’t we make some fun stuff. There was also bowling in the basement. In fact, why don’t we go bowling this afternoon. I expect that my husband has arranged to send some of his books to the Academy and they probably will show up tomorrow.”

We all trooped down to the basement and had a lot of fun on the bowling alley until four o’ clock, when the kids said that they had to go and we ladies decided to get in the pool and get wet for a bit. At about six, dinner came and we ate at the table. We all enjoyed dinner, yet again. The crab had not yet arrived. A bit later Jacob returned. “The trucks have left. Do you ladies need to be in the water?”

“We did before dinner.” I turned to the ladies “you don’t want to be in that water again, do you?”

“No, of course not,” they all said.

I turned to Jacob, “We can wait. We got wet before dinner. One more thing. We may need to be outside so that the lieutenant can perform his duties. Could you get us some long coats.”

“I can do that.”    

He left again. After a while the pool started to drain. Which was a little scary even when we knew that it was coming. A mer did not like being without water. Rather than watch the water go away, we went over to the shop. Haruka tried the switch, the motor started and the shafts moved. With two exceptions the belts seemed to be fine and since the exceptions were both lathes and there were four of them, that was going to be ok for the time being. Haruka said, “What should we make?”

“I have no idea. It’s been a long time since I did anything in grandfather’s shop.Now let me think.”

The problem was that a lot of the things that I used to make when I was dealing with my brothers required that you stand at the lathe so that you could read the dials properly. “Let’s shut this down and check out the library. Jacob still hasn’t provided us something to read.”

“That sounds like a great idea.”

It turned out to be a terrible idea. When we reached the room that had been marked, “Library,” we heard glasses clinking and music. I made the mistake of looking in and only the fact that I knew that Tom was planning to drop the hammer on this place kept me from losing it completely. There was a bar, with people inside, dancing with the kids and plying them with drinks. I turned around and the other ladies followed me as I headed back to our little area. As we went back to the pool, I started to make rather nasty comments in Japanese. Making nasty comments was something I rarely did and it was even more rarely that I took any action against somebody. This time I was.     It was too late to make a phone call tonight, but first thing in the morning, Jimmy Donelli was getting a call from me. I had seen the delivery this morning and not really thought about it. Well that was their last delivery. When we got back to the pool there was a surprise on the table. There was the Krag I had used before. Reloaded and somebody had modified the trigger guard for my hands, engraved my name on the loading door and left two boxes of cartridges as well. I had to suspect that my husband was involved. “See, what did I tell you. The other rifles will be back downstairs if we check tomorrow. If we try to get rid of them, it’s only going to get worse.”

We watched the pool fill up and when they finished, went in to bed. As we fell asleep I heard some familiar howls outside. Bill and Hilda were back.

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