Scene to take place upon Crusader’s return, likely at the proposed location for the new base at the island mansion.
Having shed her “working” form and returned to the form of her assumed identity, Lake Rain, Crusader’s lieutenant, waited in a small private room for a moment. She appeared to be attired in her attractive red outfit. It looked good on her, but a few members of the NeoGenesis team now knew that she really didn’t wear any clothes at all, that it was just a facade she wore and changed at will. It was as false as everything else she knew she was and right now that left a bitter taste in her mouth. She resolved to do some shopping for actual clothes at some point in the future. At least those things were real, and not a fake.
When Crusader entered, she handed him a report. It was in antiquated form using actual paper (or what passed for paper these days) instead of an electronic file.
Looking from the file to Lake, Crusader could see she looked exhausted, like she hadn’t slept in a long time and that she just didn’t care to control her shapeshifting enough to hide it.
“You need to read this,” she told him, dispensing with any of their usual pleasantries. The look on her face made him curious. The folder she gave him was very thin and contained only a single sheet of paper with the outline of what had taken place while he was out.
In short, they had followed his orders. They’d secured the AI brain in their possession and retrieved the AI brain the police had in theirs when their holding facility was assaulted by mutants. No surprises there.
What was a surprise was in the conclusion. Metatide stated that there was a leak. The enemy had found out somehow where the group had been staying.
“This is what I didn’t put in that report, Crusader,” Lake told him. She went on to describe her night and how she woke up in the com center. She also told him she’d asked for help from Miho, but that none of the other members of the team knew of it. See <http://weblogs.devermore.net/neogenesis/?p=406> and please read, if you haven’t already. Lake tells him all of that. Note that she did not even tell Miho the details of her “dream”, instead claiming not to remember much of it.
“I’m surrendering myself to you for arrest, Crusader,” Lake said. She was clearly upset about it, but her resolve was stronger than her emotions. “You need to lock me up until you get to the bottom of this. Right now, I’m the most likely source of the leak. I did something to those systems. I can’t tell you what. The team was placed at risk and two people were nearly executed right in our own safehouse because of it.
“So, you’ve got to lock me down. I have an immense amount of power at my disposal and if it’s being used against my will you all could be at severe risk.”
And she wasn’t kidding. According to her report, she’d utilized her full power at the scene in which they prevented the enemy team of mutants from capturing the second AI brain. She’d hit one mutant with her full strength and took him out in one shot. Another she hit so hard the poor woman was slammed completely through the building, out the other side, and had kept going an unknown distance beyond. Needless to say, she’d been taken out in one shot, too. Lake had thrown flying cars that she’d previously crushed casually as ammunition to knock down those she couldn’t reach. Metatide contained a huge amount of power and potential in a frighteningly small and attractive package.
Lake watched Crusader and waited for his response.
Crusader looked at Lake with very little expression as she presented herself for arrest. “What hard evidence do you have to support this?”
“Confession,” Lake stated. “When I came to, I knew I had been deleting logs. Also, I pressed “y” to delete the Anonymous login that was left when I woke up. I was scared and didn’t want people to think I was up to anything or think that I was unstable and unable to keep the team together for you. I really thought I was sleepwalking at the time. And so I… I pressed y.
“But there is physical evidence, as well. I had Miho check the computer system. It took a while but she confirmed there was evidence that erasures had in fact taken place. Maybe that doesn’t necessarily link to me directly but in light of what happened, I think you should take this seriously.
“Dr. Lao, someone we’d taken responsibility for and had in custody, was nearly executed by Surge. If I hadn’t been there, he’d be dead right now. So we have a cause and effect — someone told that team where we were. We have a heck of a strong case for who is responsible for it — me.”
The tired mutant looked Crusader square in the eye. Despite her exhaustion she still held resolve. “The only way you can rule out my involvement in that is to lock me down, or at least keep me under constant surveillance, but given my abilities, I don’t see how you can keep me surveilled. ”
She sighed and leaned up against a table and faced him. “I don’t want to be responsible for getting someone killed. If you won’t do something about this, I will.”
Still Looking Lake with little emotion Crusader puts the paperwork on the table.
“I’m not going to lie to you Lake… You are going through something… I’m not sure what but it is serious and something we need to look into. However I have many reasons why this is unacceptable at this time.”
Straightening up and almost taking military stance of attention, Crusader takes a step towards Lake.
“What files were deleted? We don’t know. Do you knowingly have plans on destroying what we’ve started here? How do we know you weren’t influenced by an outside power? And if that is the case, I don’t see how you could be the only one that would be targeted. We all could become leaks if this were the case. And I’m not about to arrest the entire team. I can think of many different ways Lancing could have found the base out and none of them involve you.”
Cocking his head down to catch Lake’s eyes in his he softened his tone a bit…
“How long has it been since you had a good night’s sleep?
Putting his hand on Lake’s shoulder Crusader looked to Lake with an intense focus.
“I am concerned for you Lake. From what you say you may need help and we’re lucky that we are in a place that may have the facilities to find out what going on with you. If you are working against us without your knowledge then we need to find out the cause. But I will only come to that conclusion when I see hard evidence of that fact. I know you Lake. You wouldn’t do anything to hurt your friends and anyone you seek to protect. I see now evidence that what you were deleting has any barring on the attack the base suffered. There has to be another reason for this and we will find out what it is. I’m sure you know this now that you’ve led the team for a while… The leader has to make decisions that can be hard and difficult to ask of his followers. So you can know that for me to ask this of you now is a very hard thing for me. I need you on this mission Lake. Lancing is up to something big and illegal and we have to stop them. I need you with me on this.”
She looked back at him and didn’t say anything for a long moment. It seemed she really had reservations about this, and it looked like she was going to refuse.
But then she seemed to slump slightly and produced a thin smile. “All right, Sam,” she said quietly. “We’ll do this your way. You know I’d do anything for you, anyway.”
She pushed away from the table to stand in front of him. She made an effort to hide the dark circles under her eyes. “I guess we should get back to them before the twins get into trouble again.”
Crusader Took Lake by the hand and guided her down the hall to her room. “First things first… You! Get some sleep. That’s an order.”