Homecoming Jen Sulzer Disclaimer: The characters of Adam Newman, Megabyte Damon, Ami Jackson, Kevin Wilson, Jade Weston, and General Damon and the concept of the Tomorrow People are the property of Roger Damon Price, Thames/Tetra Television, ITV Television, Nickelodeon, etc. The characters of Derek Rayne, Alex Moreau, Nick Boyle, Rachel Corrigan, William Sloan, and Barbara Rayne, as well as the concept of the Legacy, belong to Trilogy Entertainment, MGM, and the SciFi Channel, etc. These characters are used without permission, but not for profit. Carrie Morgan, Alexander Samson, Thomas Rawlings, and Ariel Newman are my own creations. Note: Quotes indicate verbal speech, single quotes indicate thought, and colons indicate telepathy. Author's Note: I would again like to thank Kristin, my long-suffering beta-reader, for sticking with me all this way! Homecoming A Tomorrow People/Poltergeist: The Legacy Crossover Chapter One Taphini Island, The Ship Megabyte Damon teleported in, instinctively adjusting to his surroundings as the light faded. He could sense Adam on the far side of the island, though the elder teleporter was doing his best to quiet his mental presence. ‘Probably wants to be alone to brood,’ Megabyte thought to himself. ‘Well, that’s just too bad.’ The red headed computer hacker resolutely strode towards his friend, before Adam had a chance to disappear again. After their adventure in the “abandoned” building, when it was revealed that the leader of the New Dawn cultists was actually Adam’s mother, articles dealing with mysterious ‘incidents,’ many of them murders, began cropping up in the world’s newspapers. Adam even had a large map in the Ship where he kept track of the path of the ‘incidents,’ certain his mother was behind them. Indeed, the Legacy had confirmed that whomever was behind this rash of crimes had succeeded in bringing down several suspected practitioners of the black arts. They were always one step behind Ariel Newman, however, since she had already fled the scene of each incident by the time the story made it into the newspapers. Each unsuccessful attempt to catch up with his mother had sunk the Australian deeper into depression. The enthusiasm he had felt at the beginning of their search had rapidly been replaced by a dark despair. He hadn’t left Taphini in days, and almost never communicated with anyone. A frown appeared on Megabyte’s face as he came upon his friend and fellow teleporter. Adam’s face was gaunt and ashen--apparently he hadn’t been eating again. The Australian was also dressed in the same clothes he had been wearing the last time Megabyte had visited. ‘Oh, boy,’ Megabyte thought to himself. ‘This is gonna be a tough one.’ Squaring his shoulders with the air of a soldier going into battle, he crossed the last few feet between him and his friend. “Hey, pal, how’s it going?” he asked cheerfully. Dark eyes glared at him from beneath a mane of unkempt hair. Unconcerned, Megabyte dropped onto the sand beside the Australian. “You know, I hear there’s some good movies playing in New York tonight. You game?” he asked. Adam turned to him with an incredulous look. “No, Megabyte, I’m not ‘game,’” he stated coldly, rising to his feet and stalking away. Watching his friend head back to the Ship, Megabyte sighed and reached out to his friend mentally. It was like running into a brick wall. Adam’s shields stopped Megabyte’s mental probe cold, causing a shock wave to reverberate into the computer hacker’s mind. Groaning, Megabyte clutched his head in pain. Fortunately, the burning ache subsided after a few moments, and Megabyte shaded his eyes from the sun as he scanned the beach for any sign of his fellow teleporter. Adam, however, was nowhere in sight. ‘Time to try another angle,’ Megabyte thought to himself. :Carrie? You there?: he ‘pathed. :Yeah. You having trouble with our ‘esteemed leader’ again?: was the response. Megabyte grimaced slightly. :How’d you guess?: he answered sarcastically. :It’s really bad this time--he’s shutting us out more than ever. Could you try talking to him? He listens to you,: Megabyte asked, seriously this time. Surprise came back to him along their link. :You really think he’ll listen to me?: Carrie asked. :Last time I tried, I thought he would’ve thrown me into the sea, if he’d been kinetic.: :Yeah, but I think he’s hit bottom this time,: Megabyte replied. :I’m really worried about him, Care,: he added after a moment. :I’m on my way,: Carrie replied instantly. A moment later, she appeared in a flash of light next to the computer hacker. “Where is he?” Carrie asked, concern coloring her voice. Megabyte jerked his head towards the partially submerged alien spacecraft they used as a base. “Where else?” he replied with only a trace of his usual sarcasm. Carrie squeezed his shoulder in encouragement before they approached the Ship. Upon ‘porting inside, the two of them quickly found their leader seated on one of the two seats attached on either side of the main “tower” of the alien ship. Eyes closed, the Australian was using the Ship to bolster his own telepathic strength. He scanned the Earth countless times over, searching for a mind he had long thought lost. Carrie and Megabyte glanced at each other uneasily. They had seen Adam try this strategy before, but never had he gone at it with such determination. “Adam?” Carrie hesitantly ventured. There was no response from the young man, but the Ship itself produced a harmonizing set of tones, as if it was trying to help get through to him. Wordlessly, Carrie and Megabyte turned to face each other, palms raised between them, but not quite touching. Almost instantly, a bluish-purple light began to shine from between their hands. :Adam!: they called together. The force of this combined summons caused the Australian’s eyes to snap open. Glaring at them, he slowly climbed down from his perch as the other two broke their link. He came to stand in front of them, eyes ablaze with anger. “What gives you the right to interrupt me?” Adam demanded. Megabyte studied his friend, an expression of disbelief on his face. Carrie, on the other hand, did not let his tone stop her. “We’re your friends--that’s our ‘right’!” she declared, stepping forward to stand directly in front of the Australian. “Adam, we’re all very worried about you,” she continued in a gentler voice, though her tone still brooked no argument. “You aren’t doing your mother any good like this.” “You don’t understand,” Adam whispered, ducking his head so he wouldn’t have to meet their eyes. “I have to find her,” he continued after a moment. “She’s out there killing people!” Megabyte put a sympathetic hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I know, but she’s probably shielding her thoughts so no one can find her on the astral,” Megabyte reminded him quietly. The Australian nodded sadly in reply. ‘He feels he has to do something, even if it probably is hopeless,’ Carrie thought to herself. The three of them slid onto one of the ledges that surrounded the main tower of the Ship, with Adam sitting between his two fellow teleporters. “I know this is probably bordering on treason,” Megabyte began after a few moments, “but, should we really be worried about what she’s doing to these people?” Adam turned to stare at his friend with wide eyes. “I mean, they did willingly choose to hurt other people--they have even gone so far as to make deals with the Darkside,” he reminded his fellow teleporters. “I’ve hashed this out with my father and Alex a few times,” Carrie offered, “and I can’t come to a decision. As Tomorrow People, we’re blocked against killing, and I feel guilty that we haven’t caught up with your mother yet,” she said, turning to Adam, “but, I also feel the world is probably better off without these people.” For his part, Adam sunk his head into his hands. Megabyte glanced at Carrie with a raised eyebrow over his friend’s bowed form. :What if he’s thinking the same thing? It could be part of the reason he’s so depressed,: he asked on a private channel. Carrie sighed as a grim expression settled onto her face. :We have to find her,: Carrie replied. :We just have to.: :And we have to do it soon,: Megabyte added. :Very soon.: ****** Angel Island, the Control Room “We’ve got another one,” Nick stated as he looked up from his terminal. Pressing a series of keys, the article on his screen was projected onto the main viewscreen. It was a short article, just two columns long, describing how a wealthy New York businessman by the name of Alexander Samson had nearly died at the hands of a mysterious intruder. The assailant, thought to be a woman, had escaped after being caught in the act by the police, but a thorough search of the area was in progress. “He survived?” Alex asked in surprise. “I wonder what happened.” “So do I,” Derek responded from behind the two of them. “See if you can locate a phone number for Mr. Samson, Alex.” The researcher nodded, and then bent her head to her assignment. “What’re you planning, Derek?” Nick asked, his lips curving in a smirk. “Gonna play reporter?” Derek shot him a reproving glare. “No, Nick, you are,” he replied, smiling at the ex-SEAL’s astonished look. ****** A dingy motel room, New York City “I almost had him!” Ariel Newman exclaimed, slamming her fist on the cheap bedside table. “If only those damned police hadn’t shown up, Samson would be dead by now!” Exhausted, she collapsed onto the bed, which creaked dangerously under her weight. She glared down at the offending piece of furniture with a look that would have frozen boiling water, then swung her legs up onto the mattress and stretched out to think. ‘He must have alerted them somehow,’ she mused. ‘I didn’t sense any other presences on the estate when I arrived, so they must have been shielded. They arrived too quickly to have come from off the estate.’ She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to get some much needed rest. She was scheduled to fly to Chicago early the next morning, but she hated leaving unfinished business. As Ariel drifted deeper into sleep, her thoughts drifted to a subject she preferred not to dwell on during her waking hours. Her son appeared before her, as a young boy. “Momma! Please don’t leave me!” the young dream-Adam begged. “I didn’t want to leave you, Adam!” his mother struggled to explain. “I thought you were dead! I wanted revenge on those who had taken my baby!” she cried, her voice nearly cracking with emotion. Tears began to roll down Ariel’s face as she tried to reach out to her son. No matter how far she reached, however, the boy was always too far away. “Adam!” she cried, abruptly waking and sitting upright in her bed. Distraught, the woman drew her arms onto her knees and rested her head against them, bursting into sobs. ****** Angel Island, the Library “Why do I have to do this, Derek?” Nick asked as he followed his Precept into the room. Derek smiled slightly; he had never known the younger man to back down from a challenge before. “Because I have a video conference scheduled with Mr. Sloan that should take all afternoon, and then some. Relax, Nick,” the Dutchman said, turning to rest a hand on his friend’s shoulder, “you’ll do fine.” “I’m no good at this acting stuff,” the ex-SEAL muttered to himself as Derek stepped through the hologram leading to the Control Room. “Hey, Nick, have you seen my father?” a familiar voice asked. Nick turned to see Carrie standing in the doorway. “Yeah, but he’s supposed to have a conference with Sloan--you might catch him, if you hurry,” he replied, gesturing in the direction of the hologram. Carrie quickly went through, causing Nick to wonder if her unofficial clearance to the more sensitive areas of the House was one of the things the head of the London Ruling House wanted to talk to Derek about. He shrugged, figuring he would either find out later, either through Derek’s subtle hints, or from Sloan himself, if he paid one of his unannounced and very unwanted visits. ****** Derek’s Office “Got a minute?” Carrie asked as she poked her head in the door, relieved to see her father was still gathering his casefiles together. “For you, always,” Derek promised with a smile. His daughter provided a welcome excuse for putting off that call to London. “This won’t take long,” Carrie told him, coming to stand across from him at his desk. “It’s about Adam.” “How is he?” the Dutchman asked with concern. “Not well, I’m afraid. He’s not eating or sleeping, and he’s obsessed with finding his mother,” Carrie replied in one breath. She rested both hands on the edge of his desk, and studied the edge of the blotter before continuing. “It took some doing, but Megabyte and I convinced him he needed to get away from the island for a while. He asked to come here, so he could be near the search.” Her father nodded in understanding. “Adam is welcome to stay for as long as he likes,” Derek promised, smiling at his daughter’s look of relief. “I hoped you’d say that,” she replied. “I know things have gotten kind of busy around here lately, but we’ll stay out of your way.” “Quite to the contrary,” Derek stated, “I think it would be better if you and he helped us on the other cases a bit. To take your minds of things, at least for a little while.” “That sounds great--just as long as you’re sure we won’t be in the way,” Carrie agreed. “I’m positive,” he replied with a smile. “Now, I’m afraid I really must get Mr. Sloan on the line, here, before he thinks I’m trying to avoid him.” “Now why would he think that?” Carrie asked with a smirk as she headed for the door. Her father’s smile faded as she left the room, and he made the connections that linked him first to London, and then to the Ruling House. ****** the Living Room Carrie came into the room to see both Adam and Megabyte in deep conversation with her grandmother, who had decided to extend her visit through the holidays. Fortunately, Megabyte had persuaded Adam to clean himself up a bit once they arrived at the House, and then Domenic had forced the three of them to eat something. The manservant, who was well versed in paranormal happenings, accepted people popping in and out of his House with his usual aplomb, and had even taken a parental interest in them, making sure they had eaten and such. The redhead grinned as she remembered how the majordomo hadn’t let her escape the kitchen without first eating at least a sandwich. “Hello, dear,” Barbara Rayne said upon seeing her granddaughter enter the room. “Do come and join us. Your friends were just telling me about some of your ‘adventures.’” “Megabyte did all the talking,” Adam spoke up with a slight smile. “I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.” Megabyte mock-punched him in the arm, but Carrie was happy to see her friend’s mood was beginning to improve so rapidly. Getting him around other people certainly seemed to perk him up, and he probably felt better seeing what was being done to find Ariel. “In that case, Grandmother, don’t believe a word he said,” Carrie commented, sitting on the couch next to Megabyte, who shot her a dirty look. “Then perhaps now I can hear the real versions,” Barbara Rayne replied with an indulgent smile, settling more comfortably in her chair. “Where shall we begin?” Carrie asked. “And if you say ‘At the beginning,’ Damon, you’re dead meat.” Megabyte simply looked at her with a “Who, me?” expression on his face. Then the three of them began to tell the story of Dr. Culex and her mosquitoes. Chapter Two Angel Island, Derek’s Office “You have a lot of explaining to do, Derek,” Sloan’s image remarked calmly from the small video screen Derek kept in his office. “Do I?” the Dutchman asked quietly, settling back in his chair. “Yes,” the head of the Ruling House declared in a tone that brooked no argument. He picked up one of several reports lying on his desk. “First, while these reports seem complete on the surface, they are severely lacking in details. And what few details are included, frankly I have a hard time believing.” He placed the file on his desk and looked squarely at the monitor before continuing. “Second, I’ve heard some things about non-Legacy members being involved in classified investigations in your House.” “I assure you, the reports contain all appropriate details, William,” Derek responded enigmatically, choosing to ignore the other problem for the moment. Sloan grimaced and rolled his eyes. “I hate it when you say that,” he commented. “For example, though, your report over a bungled break-in and subsequent possession at the Winston Rayne Museum glosses over what should be the most detailed parts. You say the demon that had been imprisoned in the urn possessed a young man, who somehow found the strength to restrain it long enough to allow you to recapture the demon in the urn. Is that correct?” Sloan asked, picking up the file and leafing through it to check for himself. Derek nodded. “How did you recapture the demon, Derek? What ritual did you use?” “Well, once we realized the urn was Egyptian, that certainly narrowed things down a bit,” the Dutchman answered. His smile widened at Sloan’s exasperated expression. “Actually, we got the ritual through a little “divine intervention,” if you will.” Sloan now looked like he was about to fall off his chair. “I’ve known you to claim to have done some strange things, Derek, but communicating with God would have to be a first!” Sloan exclaimed. “I didn’t say it was God in particular, William,” Derek responded with a smile. “Actually, it was King Tut.” “What?!” “Tutankhamen himself brought us the information, William,” the Dutchman repeated. “He had evidently participated in the original imprisonment of the demon, and could not rest while it roamed free.” Everyone had agreed it would be best to stick as close to the truth as possible. “Why wasn’t this in the report?” Sloan demanded, angrily slapping the casefile in question onto his desk. Derek allowed himself an inner chuckle before he responded--if Sloan only knew! “It must have been overlooked somehow,” he answered. “I’ll have a talk with Alex about watching her details, to be sure.” “You do that, Derek,” Sloan commented with a slight sigh. “Now, what’s this about non-Legacy members getting involved in sensitive investigations?” “I assume this concerns my daughter; am I correct?” Derek asked. At Sloan’s curt nod, he continued. “Well, as you have read for yourself in the casefile, she was involved in that possession case from the beginning. It would have been extremely difficult to have resolved the situation without her help.” “And exactly what part did she play in all this, Derek? That’s another area in which the details are sorely lacking,” Sloan commented. “The young man who was possessed was a friend of Carrie’s and my daughter was actually attacked by the demon itself. She also managed to decipher Tutankhamen’s instructions just in time for us to perform the ritual,” the Dutchman answered as Sloan made the appropriate notations in the file. “You know, that was much too easy,” the head of the Ruling House remarked after a moment. “I know you’re hiding something, Derek, and I will find out what it is, rest assured of that.” He looked as though he wanted to say something more on the subject, but then thought better of it. “So, how are Barbara and Carrie doing?” “Mother is enjoying getting to know her granddaughter very much,” Derek answered carefully as he leaned closer to the screen. “She’s even decided to stay through the holidays.” “Yes, I’d heard that. Just be careful, Derek, and remember that Legacy business is for Legacy members,” Sloan said, slightly stressing each use of the word “Legacy.” He concluded the conversation with a brief nod before he cut the connection. Derek leaned back in his chair and sighed. ‘I must be losing my touch if William is on to me already,’ he thought to himself. ‘Imagine if he knew what I was really hiding,’ he thought with a smile. ‘No matter. I cannot let him get a hold of Carrie or the others.’ ****** The Samson Estate, New York City “What do you mean, you can’t find her?” Alexander Samson demanded of the person on the other end of the phone. “The woman tried to kill me! I want her found and stopped before she has a chance to finish the job!” he exclaimed just before he slammed down the receiver. His contact in the police force assured him that they were doing everything they could to locate his attacker, but Samson had little faith in conventional law enforcement techniques. He rose from his desk in a fluid movement, and stalked to the door of his office. Upon opening the door, Samson was pleased to see one of his security personnel standing guard at his door. Nodding to the man, Samson proceeded down the hallway, followed by the guard, who kept a few paces back. The few people they passed along the way were all dressed in security uniforms, and curtly nodded in greeting. At the end of the hallway stood a pair of French doors, which Samson swung open with a flourish. A quick glance over his shoulder told him of the guard’s disapproval, which he answered with a broad smile. “Don’t worry--she won’t be back tonight,” he assured the guard, who didn’t change his expression, but wordlessly took up his post to one side of the open doors. ‘Nice to know some people know enough to not question their superiors,’ Samson thought to himself, closing his eyes for a moment as he stepped onto the terrace and allowed the breeze to move across his face. “Now, where could you be?” he spoke softly to himself, but mentally cast a net of thought out over the city in the hopes of catching his assailant off guard. Thoughts from throughout the entire city’s population washed over him, but Samson paid them no attention, so intent was he in his search for one mind in particular. “Ah, there you are!” he exclaimed under his breath, as a sudden bright flare appeared on the astral, shooting up as if in intense pain. It disappeared though, as abruptly as it had appeared. ‘No matter,’ Samson thought to himself. ‘I will find her, and then I will kill her.” The harsh sound of a phone ringing abruptly brought him back to reality, and he strode purposefully from the terrace to see what was so urgent. ****** Angel Island, the Living Room “Well, I must say that your ‘adventures’ are absolutely fascinating, even if, as I suspect, I’ve been given an edited version,” Barbara Rayne commented as the threesome finished retelling their encounter with Dr. Culex and her supermosquitoes. The three teleporters exchanged guilty looks at Mrs. Rayne’s comment. “Now, why would you think that, Grandmother?” Carrie asked sweetly, doing her best to smother a smile. Her grandmother gazed back at her with one raised eyebrow. “Oh, I don’t know, previous experience, perhaps?” she answered with a hint of a smile. Alex chose that moment to enter the room. “Adam, we’ve got a lead on your mother,” she said, as the Australian leapt to his feet. Along with the tale of their teleporting abilities, Barbara had also been told about the situation with Ariel Newman, so she also rose, along with Carrie and Megabyte. “She staged another attack, this time in New York, against a man called Alexander Samson,” she paused for a moment, watching to see if any of them reacted to the name. When they all returned blank looks, she continued. “He survived the attack, so there’s a chance she may return to finish the job.” “Are you certain Ariel Newman was behind this attack, Alex?” Barbara Rayne asked quietly. “Yes--Nick is “playing reporter” with Samson on the phone right now, and he confirmed the description of the attacker. I figured you should know right away,” the researcher replied, motioning for all of them to follow her out of the room. ****** The Library Nick Boyle sighed inwardly as he conversed with Samson. At first, the man had not been interested in speaking to more of the “press,” only with finding out how this particular “reporter” had obtained his private line. The ex-SEAL had to smile at that. He had simply repeated “from a confidential source, Mr. Samson,” over and over again. Nick personally thought Samson was primarily keeping him on the line in an effort to trick the information out of him, or else trace the call, but he had personally seen to it that the San Francisco Legacy House was equipped with the latest in jamming equipment. “What paper did you say you were from again, Mr. Boyle?” Samson’s voice came down the line. “The Tribune,” Nick replied into the phone. “And which Tribune would that be?” Samson’s voice asked, dripping with politeness. Nick looked up to see Alex leading in Barbara, Carrie, and the other teleporters, and he slid the tablet he’d been making notes on across the table to Derek, who’d just entered the room through the hologram. The Dutchman picked up the notes, and glanced over them quickly. Satisfied with the results of this little endeavor, he made the “cut” sign to Nick. The ex-SEAL nodded, and quickly ended the conversation. “I do appreciate your time, Mr. Samson, and I hope your attacker is apprehended shortly,” he said into the phone, and hung up before the man could reply. “Well, that was fun,” Nick commented, standing up to stretch for a minute. “Did he say for sure it was my mother?” Adam asked. “Not in so many words, but he did confirm someone matching her description attacked him the other night,” Nick replied. The young Australian nodded. “Based on our background research, as well as Nick’s notes from his “interview,” I believe Alexander Samson is indeed working for the Darkside,” Derek commented from the other side of the table. “Do you think she’ll come back for him?” Carrie asked. Her father frowned for a moment. “It’s difficult to say. She must know we, and others, will follow up on this lead. However, she seems to be on a crusade to decimate the Darkside, so she may not be so easily dissuaded to leave Samson alone,” was the answer. “Could someone from the New York House keep an eye on him for you?” Megabyte asked from the back of the group. “We could do a better job, Megabyte,” Adam jumped in, earning a sigh from Carrie, and a frown from the computer hacker. “Yeah, Adam, but don’t you think she’d hightail it at the slightest hint of us being around?” Megabyte reasoned. “We can shield from her.” “We don’t know the full extent of her powers, Adam,” Carrie reminded him. “It’s too dangerous.” “You don’t understand! She’s my mother--I have to stop her from doing this!” the Australian exclaimed, much to everyone’s dismay. Carrie and Megabyte both began to respond, but the sudden ringing of the phone distracted them. When they looked around a few minutes later, Adam was gone. ****** A dingy motel room, New York City Ariel Newman sat hunched over the badly gouged desk in the corner of her motel room, eyes narrowed intently. Blueprints and maps lay across the surface, all of the same luxurious estate. There was only one that drew her attention, however, and that was of the grounds immediately surrounding the mansion. Ariel was intent on discovering hidden entrances to the main house. ‘Rest easy while you can, Samson,’ she thought to herself. ‘None of your petty precautions will hold against someone of my power, and I will most certainly have my revenge.’ Chapter Three Outside the Samson Estate, New York City Adam Newman stared through the wrought iron gates at the fortress that lay beyond. It reminded him of the castle on Angel Island, but, where that impressive structure was filled with the warmth of people who considered each other family, this building made one feel cold, as if no one had lived in it for many years. Stuffing his hands in his jeans pockets, the Australian took a deep breath. He didn’t know how he was going to get inside, but he had to somehow. It was the only lead he had on his mother, and he wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. The sound of a voice clearing off to his left caught his attention. “Impressive, isn’t it?” a man standing there asked. “Sure is,” Adam responded, deciding to play along for the moment as the tourist he appeared to be. “You look a little lost, son. Can I help?” the older man asked. ‘Not unless you know my mother,’ Adam thought to himself. “I’m just wandering around, sir, taking in the sights. Thanks, though,” was his verbal reply. Turning quickly, Adam began walking away from the man. He seemed friendly enough, but the Australian had learned long ago that you could never be too careful. A quick glance behind him showed that the man was actually walking in the other direction, but Adam couldn’t deny the fact that being anywhere near this house was dangerous. It was best to stay as hidden as possible. Ducking around a corner, he grimaced as the telepathic voices of his friends caught up with him. :Adam, why didn’t you wait for us?: Carrie asked quietly as the group came up behind their leader. :I need to handle this myself, guys,: Adam replied, much to the others’ annoyance. :We’ve always faced trouble together, man,: Megabyte reminded him. :Why is this any different?: :Because this is my mother, guys! I can’t take the ch--: the Australian broke off suddenly as something around the corner caught his eye. His teammates gathered around him to find out what was so important. ****** The Samson Estate, New York City “I’m going out,” Alexander Samson brusquely told his aide as he stalked out the door of his estate. “Hold my calls.” “Y-yes, sir,” the aide stammered. “Do you really think that’s safe, sir?” he ventured to ask. “Do you really think it’s safe for you to question me?” Samson asked as he turned in the doorway, fixing his aide with an ice-blue stare. “N-no, s-sir!” the aide hurriedly replied. “It won’t happen again, sir!” “See that is doesn’t,” Samson coldly replied, and then stepped outside and crossed the courtyard to his waiting car. Around the corner, Adam froze as he spotted Samson crossing the courtyard. His eyes narrowed as he stared at the man his mother was trying to kill. ‘What is he up to?’ Adam wondered. ‘What has he done to become a target of my mother’s?’ :Alex is running a background check on Samson right now,: Carrie commented, her eyes also focused on the man in question. :Something tells me the information we’re looking for won’t be in any background check,: Megabyte replied. :Maybe not, but it could provide some leads,: Carrie reasoned. :So, what are we going to do while we wait? I mean, it’s going to be a little difficult to actually follow the guy, right?: :I told you-I need to handle this myself!: Adam exclaimed mentally, turning to face his friends with an expression of frustration on his face. “And we told you that we always face trouble together. Nothing you can say will change that,” Megabyte reminded him, putting a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “Megabyte’s right-we’ve always found our strength in the team,” Carrie spoke up. The computer hacker shot her a sideways glance, which Carrie replied with a wry smile. Adam glanced from one to the other, fixing each of them with an angry glare. “I don’t need your help!” the Australian exclaimed, turning away from them and stalking down the street. The two redheads glanced at each other, shrugged, and followed their leader. ****** Near the Samson Estate, New York City As Adam walked away from his friends, a figure watched from a car parked nearby. Sitting back in the driver’s seat, Ariel Newman scrutinized her son’s appearance. ‘He’s lost weight,’ she thought to herself. ‘He’s just like his father-a good leader, but takes every ‘failure’ straight to the heart.’ Ariel waited until she saw her son’s friends hurry after him, and then turned the ignition key. Adam glanced up as a car started up across the street. He wasn’t sure why exactly, but something drew his eye to the car, and more specifically, to the driver. His jaw dropped as he realized why the driver seemed so familiar. :Guys!: he yelled. :My mother’s here!: Desperate, Adam tried to follow the car, but he couldn’t keep up with it on foot. ‘Where’s a pair of roller blades when you need them!’ he thought to himself ruefully. As he came to a halt, losing the car as it turned into a crowded intersection, his teammates finally caught up with him. “That was your mother?” Carrie asked breathlessly. Adam numbly nodded in response, staring in the direction his mother had taken. “Man! I wish there weren’t so many people around!” Megabyte exclaimed. “Then we could have gone after her!” The teleporters glanced up and down the street, but Ariel Newman was nowhere in sight. “Alex said she’d try to figure out who the next target might be,” Carrie remarked. “Why don’t I go see what she’s found so far and let you guys know?” “Maybe we should all go,” Megabyte suggested, glancing meaningfully at Adam, who was still staring after his mother. The Australian looked towards them after a moment, and then nodded. Heartened by this response, they ducked into an alley, which briefly flooded with light a second later. ****** An Office Building in New York “Samson! How are you, old man?” Thomas Rawlings asked as Samson walked into his office. “As well as can be expected, Rawlings,” Samson replied, jerking his head to indicate that his guard should wait outside. After the man had left the room, shutting the door behind him, the two “businessmen” sat down and shared some brandy. “I wouldn’t get too comfortable, Rawlings-she should be coming after you soon,” Samson commented. Rawlings merely shrugged. “According to the information she would have access to, I’m still in Chicago. Besides, I’m a small fish-not like you and the others.” “Ariel Newman is taking out anyone involved in bringing her back to our side, and doing quite a good job, I must add,” Samson pointed out. “From what I hear, the Legacy is on the case. They may even have Ariel’s son on board,” Rawlings said, leaning back in his rich leather desk chair. “Yes, I’ve heard that as well. I had an interesting call last night, from a young man pretending to be a reporter. My people couldn’t trace it, but I’m sure he was with the Legacy.” “You know, this may be the one time I hope the Legacy will win!” Rawlings exclaimed with a hollow laugh. Samson merely nodded with a bland smile. “We need to prepare, though. Ariel Newman must be eliminated.” ****** Angel Island, The Library “I think I’ve located Ariel’s next target-a man named Thomas Rawlings. The main offices of his corporation are in Chicago, as well as his private estate, so that is probably where she’ll be headed next,” Alex explained, sliding a printout of Rawlings’s dossier down the table to the three teleporters. “What makes you think he’ll be next, Alex?” Carrie asked as she scanned the dossier. “He’s a close business associate of Samson’s for one thing, and they were college roommates at Harvard Business School. According to Legacy records, he’s involved in many of the same occult areas as Samson, but to a lesser degree,” the researcher replied. “Did you notice that all these guys were CEOs of highly successful companies, or else they were unusually successful lawyers, doctors, et cetera?” Megabyte asked. “How do you think they got there, Megabyte?” Adam spoke up for the first time since they had lost his mother in the traffic of New York. “And we don’t know for sure she won’t try to go after Samson again,” he observed. “Yes, but we can alert the Chicago House,” Alex replied. “And maybe we should bring the New York House in on this.” “Can they be trusted?” a soft voice with a familiar British accent asked from behind the group. Everyone turned to see Ami in the doorway. “Hey, guys. I just finished my last final, so I figured I’d see if there was anything I could do,” she said as she slid into a seat next to Megabyte. :Jade and Kevin would be here if they could, but I made them promise not to skip school,: she ‘pathed to the others, which elicited wry smiles and shaking heads from the “elders” of the TP. The group commiserated further about what their next plan of action should be, and then broke up to do more research and to get some rest. Chapter Four Down a New York side street Ariel Newman peered over her shoulder, looking disgustedly back at the office building Samson had entered. She wasn’t sure of his reason for the visit, as none of the organizations listed in the front entryway were his style. Mostly non-profit organizations filled this building. Grimly nodding her head, Ariel decided that this moment, away from all the security of the Samson estate, would be the perfect opportunity to complete her mission. She walked quickly towards the building, keeping her presence as official looking as she could. If people thought she had some business in the building, the better it would be for her. As she entered the building, she kept her pace brisk enough so no one could stop her to talk, but not quick enough to call attention to herself. There weren’t that many people in the lobby, but there was a family of tourists who had ducked into the building to get their bearings, and were arguing over a map. Feeling a brief pang for what could have and should have been, Ariel entered the elevator and took a deep breath. She needed to keep her mind clear for the upcoming confrontation. As she felt the tension drain away, Ariel began an astral check of the building, scanning for Samson’s presence, but remaining as hidden as possible. There. He was on the fourth floor, along with another, weaker, presence. Her eyes narrowed slightly. The two presences showed no sign of being aware of her own presence in the building. ‘This is too easy,’ Ariel Newman thought to herself. A second later, the elevator was plunged into darkness. A second after that, it began plummeting to the bottom of the shaft. ****** Rawlings’s Office The two men sat across the desk from each other, satisfied smiles on their faces. “That was an inspired trick, old man!” Rawlings exclaimed. “Even our dear Ariel couldn’t survive this!” “Yes, but she is not our only problem,” Samson reminded him. “We still have the Legacy and Ariel’s son to worry about.” “Should’ve killed that brat when I had the chance,” Rawlings muttered to himself. Samson appeared not to have heard him. “Well, what do you propose?” “We need to get him away from the Legacy.” “That’s a given, but I doubt Rayne or his new-found daughter would let that happen, chum!” Rawlings exclaimed. Samson grimaced at the thought of being Rawlings’s ‘chum,’ but he let it pass for the moment. “Yes, perhaps that’s exactly what we need to do…” Samson murmured to himself, a plan forming in his mind. “What do you mean, old man?” “I’ll take care of it, Rawlings. You handle our witch problem,” with that, Alexander Samson strode from the room, leaving Rawlings to his musings. “Don’t think I’m wise enough to be of any help, do you?” Rawlings muttered as his office door swung shut behind the other man. “We’ll see about that.” ****** Angel Island, the Living Room Barbara Rayne walked into the living room, looking for a book she had misplaced earlier, when she stumbled upon Adam sprawled across an armchair, staring listlessly out the window. “Adam!” she exclaimed in pleased surprise. “How are you doing, son?” The Australian gave her a wan smile. “About as well as can be expected, I guess. I just feel like this is all a bad dream, and I can’t wait to wake up.” Adam ran his hand along the back of his neck in frustration. “I completely understand.” He looked up in surprise at hearing that statement from Carrie’s grandmother. “That’s a pretty accurate description of how I felt the last year or two of my marriage to Derek’s father,” Barbara explained. “So many things were going on that I didn’t understand and I felt completely alone.” Adam nodded in hesitant agreement. “It’s like the others can never completely understand how it feels, to know my entire family was taken away in an effort to make my mother evil-an effort that apparently succeeded.” “Not completely, Adam,” Barbara interjected. “They didn’t destroy her love for you-nothing they could ever do would destroy a mother’s love for her child. Perhaps that’s why she’s reacting the way she is…taking vengeance on those who robbed her of being there during your childhood.” “What she’s doing is still wrong, so wrong,” Adam stated, looking away before Barbara could see the tears in his eyes. “The mere prospect of being robbed of something so precious as your own child can make you do things you never thought you could,” Barbara commented, reliving some of her own memories in that instant. “You mean what happened between you and Carrie’s grandfather,” Adam commented quietly. Barbara smiled wistfully in return. “Yes. I took Ingrid and Derek away to protect them, but I wounded Winston deeply in the process, something I will always regret. Things may have turned out quite differently if we had been able to work things out.” Adam sat up abruptly as a familiar telepathic voice entered his consciousness. :Adam, you’d better get in here-Alex’s found a huge lead on Rawlings!: Carrie spoke quickly, barely able to keep a lid on her excitement. :I’m on my way,: he promised. He turned to make his excuses to Barbara, but she gave him a knowing smile. “I’m guessing they’ve found something about your mother?” Barbara asked in her cultured voice, betraying none of the pain she had shared just moments earlier. At Adam’s nod, she shooed him out of the living room and straight to the library and control room. ****** At the bottom of the elevator shaft Ariel groaned as she regained consciousness, gingerly testing all of her limbs to make sure they were all still attached. She carefully raised herself into a sitting position, taking note of the gash on her head, which stung at anything resembling movement. Looking around, she quickly took stock of her situation. The elevator itself remained relatively intact after its fall, including the doors, which had only slid open just enough to allow some stale air to circulate through the elevator car. Rising cautiously to her feet, Ariel gripped the partially open doors and struggled to force them open with all her remaining strength. No matter how much she strained, though, the doors remained firmly in place. Pausing to wipe sweat and blood from her forehead, Ariel looked around for another means of escape. Her eyes lit on the hatch leading to the shaft above the elevator just as voices drifted down the hallway to her ears. “What d’you think happened to the elevator?” Dunno. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in it, though!” Ariel knew that, even if neither of these men worked directly for Samson or Rawlings, they would undoubtedly spread word of her survival, which would mean certain death for her. She breathed a sigh of relief as she spotted the hatch in the roof of the elevator car, which lead to the shaft above it. Moving more quickly than her injuries should have allowed, she managed to push herself through the hatch into the shaft above, and closed the hatch behind her just as she heard the sound of the doors being shoved open. Ariel Newman breathed a sigh of relief-she was safe, at least for the moment. A sudden noise startled her. Was it her imagination, or was that a laugh she heard over her shoulder? And why did the darkness suddenly seem that much more dangerous? ****** Rawlings’s Office Thomas Rawlings was gazing out his window, trying to guess Samson’s next move. ‘I know he’s going after the Newman boy, but I can’t see how he means to lure him away from Rayne and the Legacy,’ Rawlings thought to himself. ‘And, besides, even a hint of trouble, and that boy will just vanish into thin air!’ The insistent ringing of his phone brought the man back to reality. “Yes?” he asked tersely as he picked up the receiver. “Sorry to bother you, sir, but the maintenance crew just called up and said that there was some electrical short in the elevator, so it’s unusable for the foreseeable future. Luckily, no one was hurt when it crashed,” his secretary told him, rushing the words out all in one breath. Rawlings’s eyes narrowed in frustration. “No one was in the elevator when it crashed?” he asked cautiously. “No, sir. There was no one there when the maintenance crew arrived, sir,” his secretary replied. Rawlings shook his head in amazement. He thanked the young woman, and then hung up the phone and collapsed in his chair. If no body had been found in the elevator, that meant that Ariel was somewhere in the building, no doubt more determined than ever to kill him. ******* Angel Island, the Control Room “What did you find?” Adam asked quickly as he stepped through the hologram, Barbara following behind him. Well, Rawlings is much closer to Ariel than we’d thought-he recently set up a satellite office in New York!” Alex exclaimed triumphantly. Derek chose that moment to enter the Control Room through his adjoining office door, with Nick falling into step behind him. Alex nodded briefly to the Precept before continuing. “He’s in a small building downtown-mostly full of non-profit agencies, which provide good cover.” “What better place to hide than right under your enemy’s nose,” Derek commented quietly. Nick nodded in agreement. “And who would think to look for him with a bunch of non-profits?” the ex-SEAL commented. “We need to get down there right away!” “We definitely need to act quickly on this,” Derek said cautiously, with a glance at Adam, who paused a moment before replying. “I realize now that I can’t do this alone,” the Australian stated, looking at each of his teammates in turn. “And, even though I know you guys will be right behind me, we still need more help.” He turned to face Derek. “Do you think we can combine our efforts to stop her this time? " “Certainly,” the Dutchman replied, putting a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Alex, could you find us the plans for this building?” he asked the researcher, who smiled in reply. “Beat you to it, Derek!” she said with a smile, producing a sheaf of papers. “What good is a location if we don’t know how to get in?” The plans were quickly spread across the table, and Tomorrow Person and Legacy Initiate alike pored over them in the hope of finding a way to prevent yet another killing. Chapter Five Angel Island, the Library “What exactly are we going to do once we’re inside?” Ami asked as the group poured over the blueprints spread on the wide conference table. “These people are in the service of Thor, the Norse god of Thunder,” Derek began, “and, as a result, there is only one sure way to destroy their link to him.” The Tomorrow People exchanged uneasy glances around the table, most of them directed at Adam. “I’ll bite-what way is that?” Megabyte asked after a moment of silence. Nick cracked a small smile at the young man’s fearlessness. “A blade forged of lightning-struck metal,” Derek replied calmly, enjoying the surprised expressions that crossed the others faces. He didn’t need to be a telepath to figure out what they were thinking. “And you have a blade made of this material?” Adam asked in a low voice, raising his eyes from the blueprints to meet those of Carrie’s father. Derek quickly nodded. “I battled someone with a similar link a number of years ago, and kept the blade as insurance,” the Dutchman replied, and left the room, presumably to retrieve the weapon. “You know,” Carrie commented, “most people think of insurance as a written policy of some sort. But not my father-he thinks of it as weapons!” “It’s a guy thing,” Alex told her, with a sidelong glance at Nick. The ex-SEAL only smiled wryly in reply. ****** Inside the Elevator Shaft Ariel Newman crouched on top of the downed elevator, pausing for a moment to catch her breath. Glancing around, she quickly spotted an emergency ladder bolted to the side of the shaft. A small smile crossed her face as she gingerly made her way over to it and began to climb. It was a short distance to the next floor up, but Ariel’s injured and exhausted muscles protested after she mounted the first rung. She closed her eyes and envisioned the reason for her revenge-her son. The image of the fine young man Adam had grown into filled her with both pride and anger. She was proud beyond words of him, but furious that he had had to grow up without her. This anger gave her the strength she needed to continue her climb. Soon, Samson and Rawlings would pay for their crimes. ****** Outside the building After materializing in an alley near to Rawlings’s office building, courtesy of his daughter, Derek Rayne quickly strode towards the small, run-down building, every inch the businessman. Nick followed him at one side, playing his role of bodyguard well. Over her objections, Alex remained in San Francisco with Barbara--as well as the soon to arrive Rachel, who had been called and appraised of the situation--to anxiously await the outcome of this adventure. As the pair stepped inside the building, Derek spared a thought for his daughter, Adam, and the other teleporters, who were slipping into the building under their own power. Indeed, Derek and Nick were primarily a diversion at the moment, to distract Rawlings from noticing the teleporters entering the building. Yellow tape across the elevator entrance caused the Dutchman to raise an eyebrow in suspicion. The two men quickly headed to the stairs instead. Nick had also noticed the tape barrier, and began to wonder if perhaps Ariel Newman had reached the building ahead of them. Squaring his shoulders with the air of a soldier going into battle, the ex-SEAL quickly followed his Precept, green eyes scanning every inch of the building intently. He said nothing, as Derek had recommended, since they did not know how far Rawlings’s surveillance stretched. Nick slowly reached into his jacket, making sure the safety strap was loose on his holster. He knew that bullets had not proven to be much use against the enemies the Legacy usually encountered, but this was a flesh-and-blood man they were dealing with. A bullet would at least slow him down. Hopefully, anyway. ****** Just Inside the Building The four oldest teleporters appeared in various sections of the building, and peered out from behind whatever door, pole, or machine had masked their entry to make sure no one had sounded the alarm. Satisfied, each Tomorrow Person began to make their way towards Rawlings’s office, keeping their eyes open for Adam’s mother. They had not gone completely unnoticed, however, as a figure standing a ways behind Adam quietly began to follow him down the hallway. :Rawlings is on the fourth floor, right?: Megabyte ‘pathed. :Yes, office 417,: Adam replied, glancing over his shoulder for a moment. :Something wrong?: Ami asked quietly. :I just had a feeling that I was being watched,: the Australian replied. :Wouldn’t surprise me one bit,: Carrie remarked. :Where are you?: :Just outside the office for the Center for Community Leadership,: he answered. :I’ll join you. Two of us stand a better chance if they’re already on to us,: the redhead told him. A second later she came down the hallway after materializing in a small supply closet. :Maybe we should all stick together,: Ami suggested. :And give them one easy target? Not a good idea,: Megabyte told her. :Maybe you two should stick together, though,: Carrie recommended, and Adam agreed. :If they’re on to us already, we stand a better chance in pairs.: They resumed their way towards the office in question when Carrie and Adam heard muffled exclamations from their friends. :What’s going on?: Adam asked. No answer. :Ami? Megabyte? C’mon guys-this isn’t funny!: Carrie added. Still, no answer. ****** Down the Hallway Ami and Megabyte quietly made their way towards Rawlings’s office, to meet up with Adam and Carrie and surprise Rawlings. The Legacy was going to try to bring him down first, but the Tomorrow People would be there if need be. A sudden squealing sound attracted their attention, and both teleporters froze at the sight of the elevator doors inching open. :This cannot be good!: Megabyte remarked, his mental voice actually sounding a little scared. :I thought the elevator was damaged and off limits!: Ami exclaimed, and glanced around for someplace to hide, but all she could see were locked doors up and down each side. As a last resort, the two flattened themselves behind a part of the wall which jutted out a bit, and prayed that whoever came out of the elevator would not notice them. They watched in surprise as a dark haired woman hauled herself up and through the opening she had forced between the elevator doors. Ami gasped as she recognized the woman. :That’s Adam’s mother!!: she cried, unfortunately that cry instantly drew the attention of the sorceress, who fastened her eyes on them unerringly. “Come out from there, children,” she told them, her tone mostly calm, except for a slight cracking, which could be contributed to pain. “I will not hurt you,” she promised. Glancing at each other hesitantly, the two teleporters stepped forward at the same instant. Mrs. Newman’s lips curved into a small smile as she saw who they were. “Yes, I might have guessed you’d be here with him,” she said quietly. To Ami and Megabyte, she added “I need your help to stop Alexander Samson and Thomas Rawlings.” ****** Outside Rawlings’s Office Derek and Nick paused for a moment outside the door to Rawlings’s office, to prepare themselves for the confrontation that lay ahead. Derek’s quick nod to Nick had the younger man enter first, gun still holstered, but every sense on alert. Fortunately, Rawlings’s secretary had already left for the day, so there was no one to question their presence. The Dutchman followed his head of security a second later, using his Sight to make sure their target was indeed located in the private office beyond. Another nod signaled that Rawlings was present, and the two men approached the office cautiously, not wanting to tip off their quarry. They were both knocked off their feet, however, when the door to the inner office burst open and a powerful wind poured out of it. ****** Elsewhere in the Building :What could have happened to them?: Carrie asked Adam. :There’s only one way to find out,: he told her, and vanished in a flash of light. Carrie followed suit a moment later. The two reappeared a few floors up a second later. They glanced around them, but only saw empty hallway stretching in both directions. :Check that way,: Adam ‘pathed, nodding his head in one direction. :I’ll check the other.: :Be careful-stay in touch!: Carrie reminded him. Adam responded with a thin smile. The two separated, and Carrie crept down the hallway, carefully keeping close to the walls. She glanced in every room up and down the hall, but there was no sign of either Ami or Megabyte. Disheartened, she headed back towards Adam. As the redhead passed the elevator doors where they had split up, a smear on one of the doors caught her attention. :Adam! I think I’ve got something!: The Australian was at her side in an instant, intently staring at the red smear near the bottom of the door. :What is it?: he asked. Carrie reached out a careful hand to touch the smear, which came off on her fingers. She brought her fingers back, and hesitantly smelled the substance. :It’s blood,: she concluded. :Recent, too.: Suddenly, the pieces fell into place. :The elevator--: they each began at the same time. Carrie paused and let Adam continue. :My mother must have been in the elevator when it “crashed,”: he surmised, the quotes evident in his voice. :She somehow climbed up here, and surprised Ami and Megabyte!: ****** En route to Rawlings’s Office Megabyte glanced uneasily at his fellow teleporter, not missing the quick glances Ariel Newman gave them every few seconds to make sure they wouldn’t get away from her. ‘What the heck are we doing?’ he asked himself. He wasn’t sure of the answer. Heck, he wasn’t sure of anything except that, after actually looking Ariel in the eyes, they had to help this woman. Help her to free herself from whatever ties still bound her to these people. She had been desperate when she caught them outside the elevator- stopping Samson would finally free her, she had told them. “Please, you must help me-help me to return to my son!” she begged them, and Ami and Megabyte exchanged a worried glance. “What exactly are you going to do?” Ami asked quietly, reaching out with her mind for Adam and Carrie. “Samson must pay for what he’s done-not only did he rob me of my son, but he also bound my powers to his! The only way to break the bond is for one of us to die,” Ariel told them, her eyes narrowing as she picked up on Ami’s telepathic message. “I cannot allow you to contact Adam,” the sorceress said, as Ami suddenly felt a wall appear around her mind. “Above all else, I must protect my son.” “But you’re willing to sacrifice us?” Megabyte asked incredulously, regretting the words the instant Ariel’s glare was fixed upon him. All Ami could do was pray he wouldn’t get vaporized or something. “If I could do this without involving you, I most certainly would!” Ariel exclaimed. She continued a moment later, her voice lower and pleading. “Please-I cannot defeat Samson and Rawlings alone. If I am ever to have the chance to return to my son, you must help me!” Again, Ami and Megabyte shared an uneasy glance. How could they possibly get out of this? After a moment, Megabyte decided for both of them. “Not that we really have a choice, but we’ll help you,” he said to Ariel, drawing a surprised gasp from Ami. He reluctantly turned to his fellow teleporter, warily raising his head to meet her eyes. He shrugged, hoping she could read his reluctance to help this woman in his eyes. Ami refused to look at him at all, much less in the eye. And without his powers, there was no way to explain his decision. And that left them with no way out. Chapter Six Rawlings’s Office Derek gasped for breath as his eyes took in the horrifying sight before him. Rawlings was standing behind his desk, arms upraised as he called the force of the storm down upon them. “Thor, Lord of the Storm, bring your wrath down upon these ingrates! Punish them for daring to try and halt your plan!” he roared, as lightning crackled down from the ceiling. Derek glanced around the office for Nick, and finally spotted the younger man inching towards Rawlings from his blind side. Ducking behind a chair for cover, the Dutchman wondered how they were going to handle this situation. ‘This was supposed to start as a business call,’ Derek mused. ‘Then we could confront him, and catch him off guard-not the other way around!’ He groaned and winced in sympathy as Rawlings spotted Nick and hurled a bolt at the young ex-SEAL that knocked him off his feet and into a bookcase. No matter how many unusual situations the team found themselves in, Nick always thought a physical approach was best. The Dutchman rose to his feet, prepared to do all he could to stop Rawlings from doing any more harm than he already had. “Well, what do we have here?” Rawlings asked, an evil smile spreading across his face. As Derek got closer, he realized that the man’s eyes were glowing, with the glow increasing with every passing moment. “You cannot win, Rawlings-there is no way any of us will let you harm any one else!” Derek declared, slowly advancing towards the other man as Nick gingerly picked himself up from the wreckage of the bookcase. The two men advanced on the sorcerer, with Derek brandishing the silver dagger he pulled from an inside jacket pocket. “This ends here, Rawlings!” he declared, thrusting the glittering blade towards the man. Rawlings ducked, and reached for Derek’s wrist and the dagger it held. His plan, however, was foiled when Nick smashed a chair over his head. Derek jumped back in surprise, and glanced at the young man, who shrugged, with a “use what you have” gesture. The wind ceased whistling, and the lightning stopped crashing as Rawlings slumped to the ground, but the peace was short-lived. “Derek Rayne and one of his lackeys, I presume?” a cultured voice asked from behind them. They two Legacy men turned to see Alexander Samson standing in the doorway of Rawlings’s office, watching them with cold, calculating eyes. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire,” Nick muttered under his breath. “What now?” he asked his Precept. When Derek did not answer, the ex-SEAL glanced sharply at his mentor, and saw that his eyes were focused on Samson, as the other man raised a hand and smiled as the Legacy Precept remained absolutely still. “Not so cocky now, are we?” the sorcerer asked Nick. “What are you going to do without your precious Precept?” ****** Outside Rawlings’s Office Ariel, Megabyte, and Ami crept closer to the office, hearing lightning crackling and thunder crashing through the open doorway. Glancing around, Megabyte did not see any of their comrades coming to join them. He could just barely make out a muffled curse from inside the room. ‘Dang it!’ he thought to himself. ‘I bet that’s Nick and Derek in there!’ He glanced over at Ami, whose concerned expression told him she had come to the same conclusion. Ariel motioned them over to the wall, as she moved towards the door. “Wait!” the word was hissed in a stage whisper, but loud enough to cause the three at the door pause. Ami and Megabyte quickly turned to see their fellow teammates running down the hall to join them. “Let them go, Ariel!” Carrie demanded, sparing a glance for Adam, who had locked eyes with his mother the moment they had spotted the small group. “As much as I would like to, I’m afraid I cannot do that,” the woman replied. “I need their help to destroy Samson.” “They certainly won’t be much help--none of us can kill him for you!” Carrie exclaimed. Ariel nodded sadly. “Yes, I know. That is one task I must accomplish myself,” the dark- haired woman replied. “But I will need your help to distract him.” “You don't understand--we can't just stand by and let you kill him, either!” Adam exclaimed, finally finding his voice. “There's no other way to break the bond of our powers!” his mother explained. “He can control my powers until one of us is dead!” We can't participate in anything that might lead to another's death,” Adam said quietly, finally finding his voice. “What about your comrades?” Ariel asked. “I believe there are some Legacy members already battling Samson.” Carrie's eyes narrowed as she remembered that Nick and Derek were still inside the office, facing off against a sorcerer of unknown power. “There must be another way!” she exclaimed. “Can’t we just incapacitate Samson?” A thoughtful look crossed Ariel Newman’s face. “Perhaps…” she murmured. “If he cannot draw on his powers, that should have the same effect.” ****** Rawlings’s Office “Let him go-now!!” Nick demanded, diving to the floor and recovering his gun, which had been lost in the earlier struggle. He pointed it at Alexander Samson, prepared to do whatever it took to get Derek back. “I do not think you are in any position to be making demands, Mr. Boyle,” Samson countered. “Come here, Derek,” he said, and the Dutchman stepped to his side. “Excellent, excellent,” Samson remarked as he admired his handiwork. “Bending a Legacy Precept to one’s will is quite an accomplishment, wouldn’t you say, Mr. Boyle?” “If you’re into that sort of thing,” Nick returned, frantically trying to come up with a plan that wouldn’t involve hurting Derek. He couldn’t be sure how far the sorcerer’s control extended over his Precept. “Oh, but I am, my dear boy, I am,” Samson said. “Now, Derek, please dispose of this troublesome young man.” The Dutchman stiffly stepped forward and advanced on the ex-SEAL just as the office door burst open behind the three men. Nick just had enough time to realize that the four Tomorrow People had somehow teamed up with Ariel Newman before smoke billowed into the room, effectively blinding everyone. His SEAL training enabled him to just make out Derek’s tall figure a little ahead of him, and Nick took the opportunity to tackle his Precept and, he hoped, bring him back to their side. “Nick! For Heaven’s sake—it’s me!” was all the Dutchman could manage, while struggling with the ex-SEAL pinning him down. “How can I be sure?” the young soldier demanded, and then smothered a smile as the “Rayne glare” stared back at him. There was no way any demon or evil sorcerer could duplicate that look. “I had to make Samson think he had control over me,” the Dutchman explained. “We were never able to accurately gauge his powers, and I couldn’t take the chance that he would overwhelm us.” “Just let me in on it next time, okay?” the ex-SEAL asked with a wry smile. Nick quickly helped the older man to his feet, but they were nearly knocked down again by something slamming into them--someone, actually. Both men grabbed for the figure, unsure if it was friend or foe. “Dad!” Carrie exclaimed, overjoyed to see her father and Nick both safe. “What exactly is going on here?” the Dutchman asked, trying to make anything out in the thick fog. “The plan was to incapacitate Samson, and break the control he has over Ariel’s powers. Once this fog rolled in, though, the plan kind of fell apart—and it seems to be blocking our powers, too.” Suddenly, a lightning-like light flashed throughout the office, and the fog vanished in an instant. Legacy and Tomorrow Person alike stared in horror at the two figures lying on the floor in front of what had been Thomas Rawlings’s desk—Ariel Newman and Alexander Samson. ****** Angel Island, San Francisco Alex, Barbara, and Rachel were understandably surprised when the small group returned with Ariel Newman’s unconscious body in tow. After explanations were promised later, and Rachel had determined that it was safe to move Ariel to a room upstairs, Barbara rose and took charge of the situation, causing her son and granddaughter to both smother smiles. “Now then—Mrs. Newman shall be installed in one of the upstairs rooms, the Green Room should be satisfactory.” Nick gently lifted Adam’s mother into his arms and carried her upstairs to the indicated guest room. The Australian quietly followed, as did Rachel to perform a more thorough examination of the woman. As they did so, the rest of the group cleaned up, and replenished their strength through food that Domenic had thoughtfully had the kitchen start on the moment he learned of the “trip” to New York. Once Ariel had been safely settled in the guest room, and Rachel was certain that the woman’s condition was in no danger of worsening, the group gathered in the living room to tell their tale. Minus Adam, though, who remained at his mother’s side. The telling went back and forth between Legacy members and Tomorrow People, to cover both threads of the adventure. “What happened after the fog lifted?” Rachel asked, leaning forward with interest. “We were able to contact the New York House, and they dispatched their team to aid in the wrapping up of the situation. Samson did regain consciousness, but was apparently driven mad by the incident. All we could get out of him was that he was in his own world where even the President was subservient to him,” Derek replied, stretching slightly to alleviate his stiff muscles. “They assured us he would be appropriately dealt with, but he’s no danger to anyone anymore,” Carrie finished. “He lost control of his powers as well as his mind.” “And did Ariel regain consciousness at all?” Barbara asked. “No,” Derek replied, with more than a tinge of regret in his voice. “She did not regain consciousness at all.” As her father spoke, Carrie’s eyes drifted up the stairs as her thoughts turned to the young man who sat vigil at his mother’s bedside. Epilogue: A few weeks later The first thing she was aware of when she opened her eyes was light. It wasn’t terribly bright, but it was just enough to make her shut her eyes again. A few moments later, she tried again, this time opening her eyes more slowly. Ariel Newman glanced around, unsure of where she was. It obviously wasn’t a hospital, but where else would she be? It was then Ariel noticed the dark head resting at the edge of her bed. She reached out a shaky and gently smoothed back the hair from her son’s face, and marveled at how much he resembled his father. Adam stirred at her touch, and sleepily opened his eyes. He jerked upright when he saw she was finally awake, and Ariel smiled a slightly rusty smile as he almost fell backwards in his chair. “You’re awake!” he exclaimed, then lowered his voice so as not to cause her any pain. “How do you feel?” “Oddly, I feel rather tired,” his mother replied in a voice that matched her smile. “How long have I been ‘asleep’?” “Nearly two weeks,” her son replied. “Some of the longest in my life.” “Adam, I--” “I have a million questions to ask you, but right now you need a doctor,” Adam broke in, and hurried from the room to get Rachel. His mother frowned slightly as she realized how little they had actually said to each other. ****** Outside Ariel’s room, a few minutes later As Rachel examined his mother, Adam paced nervously outside her door, unsure of what to do now that she was awake. He jumped when a hand came down on his shoulder. “Whoa! Easy, Adam!” Carrie exclaimed with a smile. “We heard about your mother—we’re all really happy she finally woke up.” Ami, Megabyte, Jade, and Kevin voiced their agreement. The teleporters had remained at the House in small groups, providing whatever support their leader required. “Yeah, only now I don’t know what to say to her. I mean, I’ve spent most of my life thinking that she was dead, and now--” “Hey, man, no one expects you to figure all this out in one day,” Megabyte reminded him. “And you haven’t exactly had a chance to deal with this since it all broke,” Ami added. “Just try taking it one day at a time.” Adam nodded, thankful he had friends like these. At that moment, Rachel stepped outside the door. “Your mother is going to be fine, Adam—she’s coherent and is responding well physically. She asked that you come in, but only when you feel ready,” Rachel told him. The other teleporters held a collective breath as their leader considered how to handle the situation. Finally, he reached for the door. “Adam?” Ariel asked as she saw the door open. The door had been all she could focus on since Dr. Corrigan had left the room. She prayed her son would find it in his heart to at least listen to her—he had fled so quickly before. “Hello, ah…” he paused, unsure of what to call her. “You could just call me Ariel,” his mother replied, grateful he was just talking to her—“Mother” would hopefully come later. “There’s so much I want to ask you, Ariel,” he said, pulling the chair back to her bedside. “And there’s so much I want to tell you, Adam—so much I never thought I’d get a chance to say,” she told him. “Do you—do you have any ah, power?” he asked hesitantly. “No,” Ariel replied, struggling into a more upright position. Her son reached out to help her, and they shared a slight smile. “I threw all my power into overwhelming Samson—apparently the price of breaking that bond was the loss of my powers.” “But what about before?” “I didn’t make a deal with the Devil, or anything like that—I just happened to have a strong affinity for magic. Samson and his lot were the only people who didn’t treat me like a freak,” Ariel explained. “I was just about your age at the time, but I lacked your strength. I fell for all their promises of family and acceptance.” “What changed your mind?” “Your father,” Ariel paused for a moment, lost in her memories. “He was a young reporter who became fascinated by the stories of the local “cult,” and decided to do a story about us. He showed up at the house we owned at the time pretending to look for work. Daniel was very handsome and charming—much like you,” she said, causing Adam to blush slightly. “He became very protective of me, and I gradually fell in love with him. It was with him that I found the security and acceptance I craved—Daniel didn’t care about my powers, he just cared about me.” “What happened?” her son asked after a moment. “We decided to run away together—it was all very romantic. To our surprise, no one came after us, or at least that’s what we thought. They must have been watching us and just waiting for the right time. I remember the day of the “accident”—we had spent the day picnicking in the country—you were fascinated by fossils at the time, and spent the entire afternoon scouring the area with your father, but all you came up with were a few odd stones,” she smiled at the memory. “We headed back in the early evening, and you fell asleep in the back seat. Your father suggested that I try to sleep as well, since you’d probably be wide awake by 5 the next morning,” again, she smiled at her son. “I’m afraid I don’t remember much about the accident itself—just your father crying out and the sound of our car smashing into—something.” She shuddered at the memory, and Adam automatically reached for her hand. “You don’t have to remember any more—I shouldn’t have asked you to relive this much pain,” he said, honestly feeling terrible at causing her to remember the loss. “I want to—you deserve to know,” his mother told him. “The next thing I remember is waking up in the cult’s new stronghold—there they told me my husband and son were dead—that it was a plot by those who had found out about my powers. Somehow, they had evidence—pictures, letters—but they were all forged. You were alive, but no one told me that.” “If I had known you were alive--” Adam began. “You were only six, Adam,” his mother reminded him. “There was nothing you could have done. I am so proud of the young man you’ve become—I only wish your father and I could have seen it.” “You’re here now,” Adam shyly reminded her. “Yes, you’re right…thank you, my son,” his mother replied, blinking back tears. Mother and son both watched the sun rise filled with a hope neither had felt in many years. Finis.