Gender: N/A Age: N/A Location: N/A
|Introduction: Not my story|
The Purview of the Diplomats
Cindy came in the room as the Great Seal of the United States of America appeared on the screen. She stood shyly near the doorway until Ron acknowledged her presence.
"May I watch the speech with you, Master?" she asked quietly.
"Yes, Cindy. Come over here and sit by me."
Quickly, Cindy moved to the sofa and sat as close to Ron as she dared. There was still a good foot between them. Ron smiled for a moment, and moved over until their legs were touching. He put his arm around her shoulder, and pulled her to him. He needed to feel like he could at least protect this one life, and, truth be told, he'd not had a chance to get to know her yet. They settled back to watch the president's speech.
"My fellow Americans", he began, as usual, "I have some disturbing news for you this evening. Earlier today, in a totally unprovoked attack, an American naval battle group was sunk in the North Atlantic ocean. While most of the crews onboard those ships survived, many were killed. The survivors of this horrible act are presently enjoying the hospitality of the British government, until they have been checked out medically. They will be returning home soon.
"There is no reason for this attack to have happened. The battle group was in international waters, and they were not performing any exercises, nor were they gathering intelligence information. This attack was brutal, came with no warning, and gave no regard for the lives involved.
"This attack was carried out by ships bearing the naval ensign of the Red Banner Northern Fleet. That is to say, these ships, while nominally under the control of the Russian government, were flying a Soviet flag. I have spoken personally with the pilots who saw these flags, and have had the information verified by other means. I can only come to a few conclusions about why such a flag would be flying on a Russian vessel. I do not like any of them.
"Our ambassador to the United Nations has called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. We will have answers for this attack.
"Now, ladies and gentlemen, as distressing as this information is, I must present you with an even more unusual report. It has come to the attention of the United States government that there are people in this country with..."
"Oh, God, he's going to say it," Ron murmured. Cindy merely watched.
"... 'special abilities'. They refer to themselves as 'psionics'. Now, while I don't understand how they are capable of doing what they do, I have witnessed myself the powers of one of these people. I assure you that these people are real, and that they can do what they claim.
"Now, I know you are asking yourself how these people tie in with today's attack. All I can tell you is that they, the psionics, have presented to us information that this attack was not perpetrated by the Russian government, but by a sect of Russian psionics. We have also been told that these Russian psionics intend on causing our country great harm.
"This is what we intend to do..."
For the next half hour, Ron sat staring, unbelieving, at the television set. If there was any one thing he would have cautioned against doing, this was it. You could not slap such information down in front of the American people this way: they would go ballistic over it. It had never occurred to Ron to simply stop the man during the broadcast, nor had he thought beforehand to instruct the president not to talk about the PPA.
"Master?" Cindy, who had watched the broadcast with more confusion than anything, interrupted Ron's train of thought.
"What is it, Cindy?"
"Is there going to be trouble for us?"
"There could be, Cindy. There very well could be."
Ron hugged the girl closer to him. "So am I." He leaned down and kissed her, and she melted into his arms. They held each other for some time, kissing like that, until someone coughed quietly, to interrupt them.
Cindy broke off quickly, but Ron didn't let go of her as he looked up. "Yes?"
It was Megan who was standing in the doorway. "I'm sorry, Master, but the family asked me to come get you... I can tell them to wait if..."
"No, that's okay. I can pick up where we left off later. Come on, Cindy," Ron pulled her up from the couch, and led her into the living room. When Ron stepped into the room, he felt an odd sense of deja vu, as if he had seen this before. Then he realized where the feeling came from, and he suddenly felt very old. He was remembering another family meeting, in a different house. The faces were different, and everyone was a few years older now, but the meaning was the same: they were looking to Ron for guidance. He looked at each face in turn: Sandra, Nikki, Linda, Nancy, Megan and Cindy. Jessica the puma lay in the corner, head on her paws, eyes alert and observant, while Jill sat next to her, scratching between the puma's ears. Karen and Lars were also there, sitting across the room from the family. It was as if a line had been drawn between those members who were responsible for the meeting, and those who were only observing. Lt. Saunders stood at a doorway, unsure whether she should be present for this or not. Ron motioned her into the room with his eyes. She took the seat nearest the door.
"Okay, someone wanted to say something, so let's not waste any time," Ron started. His tone didn't really surprise anyone after the last few days. They knew Ron really needed a good night's sleep, but they had to get this over with.
Linda was the one to speak up. "Ron, we're worried. Is all of what the President said true?"
"Most of it. He screwed up some of the details, but the basic ideas he got right."
"But how can you beat them, Ron?" Nikki asked.
"I'm not going to do it alone," he answered. Just then, he remembered there was something he needed to do. Without interrupting his family, he sent out a telepathic message to Jeff Durant.
was Jeff's response.
However, Ron had missed his mother's question. "Sorry, Mom, I was thinking. What did you ask?"
"I said," she started, trying to keep her voice calm, but not able to keep the quiver out of it, "Why do you have to go fight?"
"Who else is going to?"
"Let the government do it. That's why we have a military, isn't it?"
"Yeah, they managed real well today, didn't they? Mom, these Russians aren't going to concern themselves with regular people for very long. Soon, they're going to start coming after people just like me. And eventually, they'll come after me. So, I can either sit here and wait for them to show up, or I can go out there, find them, and kick their asses back to Siberia or wherever the hell they come from."
He looked to each person, seeing in their face the fear he also felt. His sister's face was the only one that held any confidence, and he thanked her silently for it. When he looked at Nancy's face, however, he stopped. The look he saw there...
"Nancy? You have something to say?"
"I want out," she whispered.
"What?" he asked.
"I want out," she said with more force. "It's not safe here. You're a target. I've already been put in the hospital once for you. I don't want to get killed over some stupid war! It's not worth it!"
"Nancy, come off it-" Linda started to say, but Ron interrupted her.
"Okay. If you want to go, then go. I'm sorry, I don't have time to bother convincing you that you're wrong. I suppose if I can let my own sister go," Ron paused for a moment before his voice cracked, "Then letting you go should be easy. You're welcome back here anytime you like. Megan will help you pack."
Nancy stood on shaky legs. "Thank you, Ron. I'm sorry." She left the room in tears. As Megan was about to follow her out, Ron stopped her for a moment.
"Do you have any questions, Megan? Do you want to leave?"
"Master, I belong to you. I could no more leave your house than I could turn my nose upside-down. I will follow your instructions." She gave him a hug, bowed slightly, and left the room.
Ron turned to the rest. "As much as I hate to admit it, Nancy’s right: I am a target. She may not be wrong in wanting to get out while the getting is good. If anyone else wants to leave now, I won't try to stop you."
Ron's heart froze as his sister got up from the couch. He was certain it didn't make a single beat as she walked over to him. She looked up at her big brother, and then threw her arms around his neck. She whispered in his ear, "I don't know about the rest, Big Brother, but I wouldn't leave you if you asked me to!" She kissed him softly on the cheek, and stepped away. "I'm gonna go help Nancy and Megan." Ron watched her leave the room before he turned to see the others. No one else said a word.
"Okay. Now then. Tomorrow, we begin preparing for war. I gave each of you a big manila folder some time ago. In it are your assigned duties. There will be a lot of people coming to this house in the next few weeks, and it's our job to take care of them. I will redistribute Nancy's jobs as soon as I-" Ron's train of thought derailed as he saw Kimberly standing behind him. It wasn't that he hadn't heard her coming that distracted him. It was how she looked in her very feminine white cotton dress. It had short sleeves, and it ended just above her knees, and it made her look beautiful. His mind was not registering any thought until she spoke.
"Am I interrupting, sir?"
Ron's brain finally kicked back into gear and he found his voice. "Uh.. no, not at all. Is there something you needed to say?"
"I was wondering if my men would have a place to stay here while we're preparing for the war."
"Oh. Yes, they can use the old facility. Karen, could you show Kimberly the facility, and see what needs to be done to equip it for her men?"
"Yes, sir!" Karen said in a mock-military voice that brought a smile, however brief, to Ron's face. As they left, Ron's eyes trailed along Kimberly's back, down to her tight, round ass, and past that to her lovely legs. His attention was once again refocused by another question from his mother.
"Will we be safe here, Ron?"
"As safe as I can make it, Mom. I'm going to leave guards here all the time, and if necessary, we can use the underground facilities."
"What underground facilities?" Linda asked.
"When I had them build the reprogramming facility, I also had them dig a set of tunnels and bunkers underground. I never told anyone because I didn't want it to be common knowledge. There's food and supplies under there to feed dozens of people for a couple of years."
"My word! How many people are you expecting to come here?" Lt. Saunders spoke for the first time.
"About fifty or so. My associates have established larger refuges all around the country, and more people will be hidden there. I'm afraid I can't protect very many. We're protecting the people closest to us. I know that's selfish, but how else do you choose whom to save?"
"I understand. No, I agree with you. You do what you can. Trying to exceed your limits just gets everybody killed."
Ron awoke the next morning at 9:27 am. He knew the time exactly because his eyes opened to behold the alarm clock staring him in the face. His first focused thought was, Why didn't my alarm go off? His next thought was that Jeff and company should already be in the house. He sat up in bed, setting his feet on the floor before he realized he was not alone.
Cindy was standing silently by the door, gazing at her master. He smiled at her, and she bowed her head, with a sheepish grin on her face, having been caught staring at him. Ron remembered last night very well. He had been far too tired to do anything with the girl, but she had given him a wonderful massage until he'd fallen asleep. He never heard her leave the room. It never occurred to him that she hadn't.
"Why didn't my alarm go off?" he asked her.
"I'm sorry, Master, but your mother asked me to turn it off so that you could rest. Was it wrong of me?" Her voice betrayed her worry at displeasing her master.
"No, no. That's fine, Mom's probably right, anyway. Do you know if Jeff is here yet?"
"I do not, Master. I have been waiting for you to wake up."
"How long have you been standing there?"
"Four hours and twenty-eight minutes, sir."
"Christ!" He stood up and walked over to her. She looked up into his face as he almost towered over her. He wrapped his arms around her, and hugged her to him. "You are a very loyal person, aren't you?"
"I am here to serve you, sir. That is how it is supposed to be, is it not?"
"I guess... Look, from now on, could you maybe actually sleep at night? I don't need you to watch over me while I dream."
"As you wish, sir."
"Thanks. Now, I need some food. What say we go get some breakfast?"
The small TV in the kitchen was on as Ron made himself a bowl of cereal. Lt. Saunders was sitting at the table, drinking coffee and watching the news. What Ron saw on the news stopped him cold.
"In the streets of LA and Chicago," the anchor reported, "the rioting has already begun. Anyone suspected of being a psionic is being beaten. People are leaving the cities in droves, in hopes that they might avoid whatever fighting might damage their homes."
As the picture changed back to the anchor, he was joined by a commentator. The anchor said, "Walt, what do you make of all this?"
"Well, Ted," said Walt, "This is all reminiscent of the Salem witch hunts. I've done what little investigating I can about these psionics, and, like witches, you just can't tell one by looking at them. On a more important note, however, I'd like to point out that if the information provided to us by the President is accurate, it may be foolhardy of us to be attacking the only people who have a chance of stopping the foreign menace."
"Thank you, Walt. We'll be back with more information, right after this."
"And so it begins," Ron said gloomily.
"You couldn't have prevented this," Lt. Saunders said.
"Please call me Shelly. This is so informal."
"Okay, Shelly. I could have easily prevented this, if I'd had the wits to prevent the President from making a jackass out of himself, and us, on national television."
"Well, it's done now. You really can't go back and fix it, so there's not much point in worrying over it, is there?"
"I suppose not. Thanks, I needed the support."
"No problem. But, may I ask, what are you going to do about the Russians?"
"The same thing everyone does in a war: find the enemy, kill the enemy, find more of the enemy, and so on. The thing that makes this war different from most is that geography will play absolutely no part in the strategy. It makes little difference that there's a hill in front of you if you can just fly over it."
"I see your point."
Ron finished up his breakfast, and then went to find his fellow soldiers. Linda approached him as he entered the living room. "Ron, I sewed something together for you, I hope you like it." She held out a blue flag with an eagle on it, clutching in its talons an American flag. The eagle was bathed in a radiant red light, and there were five stars arrayed around the eagle. At the top of the flag were the words, "Provisional Psionic Army". At the bottom were the words, "Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom".
Ron inhaled sharply. It was a lot of work for a single day. "How did you finish this so fast?"
"Actually, I had most of it done a while back. But you hadn't given yourself a name yet. When you told the President what you were calling your troops, I just sewed that into the flag."
"Wow. What are the five stars for?"
"It's a command flag. Every army has a single commander-in-chief, right? And he's always a five star general."
Ron just chuckled as he pulled her to him, and kissed her warmly on the lips. He broke the kiss as he heard someone enter the room.
It was Jeffrey Durant. He was dressed in what would be considered military uniform by anyone who had not been in the military. It was then that Ron realized that he probably ought to establish a uniform code for his army as well. But it could wait.
"Sir!" barked Jeff, "Your troops are assembled on the front lawn, and ready for inspection, sir!" Jeff made a good attempt at a salute. Ron was so impressed by the gesture that he was compelled to return it.
"Very well, Mr. Durant. Lead on."
They walked out to the front of the house. Arrayed before Ron was a company of over a hundred psionics. Ron turned to Jeff. "I thought you said about thirty?"
"Well, sir, after the things that have happened lately, and especially after the President's speech last night... well, sir... the numbers grew a little."
"I see that. Very well." Ron pointed to the soldier nearest the flagpole that Ron had erected some weeks ago. "You, bring the flag down." Ron was cradling Linda's flag in his arms yet. He walked over as the man brought the flag down. As it reached the bottom, Ron reached up and removed the state flag from the pole. This he handed to Jeff, and then clipped Linda's flag to the lower clips. Now the flag of the PPA would fly below the American flag at this house. "Raise the flag, please." The man did as requested.
Ron turned to the people as the flag reached three-quarter height. In his loudest voice, he bellowed, "Company, atten-hut!" There was a crisp sound of boots and shoes coming together as the troops moved to attention. "Company... SALUTE!" In unison, all of the men present did their best at a proper salute to the flags. "Two!" Ron had watched enough military movies to know the proper wording for the honor guard, but now he needed to speak frankly with the people before him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Provisional Psionic Army of the United States of America. As you heard last night on television, the existence of psionics is no longer a closely held secret. As much as I disagree with our President's method of handling the situation, we must now adapt to the conditions we are presented with. We have an unknown amount of time to establish a chain of command, to solidify tactics and strategies, and to train for the coming war. The Russians have the upper hand: they knew when the attack was coming. However, no foreigner has ever won a war fought on American soil, and I'll be damned if they're going to start now!" That elicited a cheer from the group.
"Now then, I want you all to sign in. Megan here has a brief form for you to fill out. All I need to know is your name, your training, your specialty, and your experience. If you've been given some kind of rating by some psionic organization, tell me that, too. I need to know these things so we can plan effectively. Other troops will be joining us later today, and our numbers will hopefully continue to grow as we begin training. I will be spending a great deal of my time trying to get us as many troops as I can, and as many allies as I can. The US government is on our side for now, but let's not count on them to stay that way. We will expect only minimal support from our country. I'm not going to give you some Kennedy bullshit about what you can do for your country. Look, our lives are on the line as much as anyone else's in this thing. The Russians are threatening our way of life, and our freedom. If we don't stop them, there is little chance that anyone else can. If anyone has second thoughts about fighting with us, now is your only chance of backing out without really pissing me off. I'm not going to stand here and blow sunshine up your ass: this is going to be hard, and some of us are probably going to die. Hopefully, we'll take a lot of those damned bastards with us when it happens. If you want out, leave now. If you're with me, then let's get to work!" Another loud cheer erupted from the group.
Just then, a van and two buses pulled up. Kimberly stepped out of the lead van, now decked out in her warrior garb again. He watched as she strode toward him, taking powerful steps, her long legs moving swiftly and gracefully through the crowd. Though her appearance was very feminine, she exuded power, and the troops parted to let her through.
As she reached Ron, she knelt, and bowed her head. She remained that way, waiting, until he heard in his head a message from Lars, who was watching.
Ron grinned sheepishly. "You may rise, Hunter."
Kimberly stood before him, just as tall as he was. "I have brought the Hunters to you, sir."
"I see... but this looks like more than fifty, Kimberly."
"Yes, sir. There are some other trusted associates along. Not all of them were members of the ShadowDragon. Some were freelance, some were members of other, much smaller guilds. I hope you do not object to their presence?"
He caught the worry in her voice. Was everyone afraid of displeasing him anymore? "That's fine, Kim. The more, the merrier at this point. I need your men... uh, people to sign in, so that I know what I've got to work with."
"Yes, sir!" Kimberly answered, and turned on her heel to return to her men. He watched her go with no small admiration. Her legs showed to good advantage beneath her battle skirt, and her tunic clung to her back, her hair tucked into the tunic to keep it out of the way. She was female in every way, but not someone to be trifled with.
And so the first days went. By the end of the first week, Ron had amassed an army of 462 people, men and women alike. He allowed no one under the age of 13 to fight, but he allowed them to remain, and to continue their training. He hoped that he wouldn't need them. He hoped the war would not drag on until some of them reached their thirteenth birthday.
Ron also started pulling his friends in, gathering them into his home for their safety. Though he was around to keep an eye on things, he put Jill in charge of making sure everyone had a place to sleep, and anything else they truly needed. He knew that she appreciated having something to do, and he was certain she would be able to handle anything that might come up.
He was wrong.
"I'm sorry, sir, but your names are not on my list," Jill said softly. Her harsh manner had vanished under Ron's mastery. "I am only allowed to admit people who are on this list."
"Look," the man said, pleading with her, "Can you just go get Ron, so that we can talk to him about this?" The fear and concern in his voice, along with her profound desire not to make a mistake, decided the matter for her.
"Cindy, could you please go get Ron and ask him to come here?" The people were silent as the young girl left, and remained that way until she brought Ron back to the sign-in table.
"What's up, Jill?" None of the people in front of him had turned around, but Ron thought he recognized a certain red hairdo, and a certain pair of legs anyway. He moved around to stand beside Jill before looking at them.
He saw before him the O'Rourke family: Sean, Kylie, and their daughter, Tammy. Nikki's former friend, Tammy. The Tammy who used to live in this house. The Tammy that he had asked to leave. He saw the fear in their eyes. He saw the pleading in their eyes. He knew now why he was not doing this job personally.
"Cindy, go get Nicole." He had used her full name in order to keep his emotions under control. He could not make a decision about the O'Rourkes without Nikki's input. The people again remained silent as the newest member of the group was summoned.
Soon, Nikki came into the hall, munching on something or other. Her view was blocked by Ron, and so she hadn't seen who was standing before them yet. "What's up, big brother?"
Ron simply motioned to the people in front of the table. "These people are requesting sanctuary."
"What's that got to do with m..." Her thought trailed off as she saw who was standing at the table. A flood of emotions passed through her as she stared across at an old friend. Her immediate reaction was happiness to see her friend, but then memories crowded in, things said that shouldn't have been, looks given, things left unsaid. But it didn't take long before all that was washed away by a single question. Could she live with herself if she let Tammy die?
Nikki moved around the table slowly, not revealing the emotions she felt. She stood before Tammy, who faced her, but with her head bowed. Tammy began to speak softly.
"I know I was wrong, Nikki. I wish I'd had the courage to say I was sorry."
Nikki didn't say a word. She just waited. Finally, Tammy looked up into Nikki's eyes. Nikki smiled and threw her arms around her old friend. Tammy hugged her back, and began to cry. They remained like that.
Ron leaned down and quietly said to Jill, "Add them to the list."
"Yes, sir," she replied.
The O'Rourkes looked at Ron gratefully, but he just nodded to them and left. Another family would be saved because they had connections. Was it the right thing to do? Ron would never be able to tell.
People filtered into the facility day and night, until almost all of them had shown up. He was with Jill in the entrance hall, discussing the list with her.
"How many people left, Jill?"
"Only four, sir. Three of which are the Deneuves, who said they would be by tomorrow."
"Okay, and the fourth?"
Before she could answer, the doorbell rang once more. It was a formality, as there was a guard standing there to prevent unauthorized guests. The door was opened by a member of the PPA to admit a very lovely young woman. Her auburn hair fell to her shoulders, and her brown eyes took in the entire room. Her trim body was hidden beneath a pair of jeans, a button-up white blouse... and Ron's old jacket.
"Hello, Ms. Calverson," Ron called, waving her over to the table. "Jill, this is Ms. Calverson. I believe this completes the list?"
"Yes, sir, it does."
"Good. Welcome, Ms. -" she raised her hand to stop him.
"Please, could you call me Jenna? 'Ms. Calverson' makes me sound like a school teacher."
Ron chuckled. "Okay, Jenna. I see that you kept the card I gave you."
"I'd like to thank you again... but I don't know your name."
As Jill stared at her as if to say, Which planet do you come from? Ron introduced himself.
"Well, thank you, Ron. I don't know what I would have done that night without your help... I don't really know why I'm here, except that it felt safer to be here than it did to be alone at home."
"Not to worry. You are definitely not alone here." She smiled at him, and he directed Jill to show her to an available bed. Ron moved off to the kitchen to make himself something to eat, turning his thoughts now to his plans for the coming battles.
But Ron was not done dealing with local concerns. The PPA flag flying over the front lawn had not gone unnoticed. It was a week and a half after the formation of the PPA that the protestors showed up.
Ron was roused from his sleep by Linda, who directed him to look out of the window. As he did, he saw people with baseball bats and burning torches, ready to ransack the house, or so it would appear.
"Should I wake up the troops?" Linda asked.
"No. Wake up Lars and Karen, Jeff... and Kim. Have them meet me at the front door."
Less than five minutes later, they were all standing at the door. Ron was amazed at how composed Kim looked, having been rousted out of bed so early. Karen looked... well, like she'd just been rousted out of bed.
Without any words, Ron opened the front door, and they all stepped outside. Immediately, they spread out in a line, Karen and Lars at one end, Jeff at the other. Kim kept herself slightly behind the others, but close to Ron. He wondered why, and asked her telepathically.
Ron understood the sentiment, and wished he could be the follower for a change. They all advanced until they stood thirty feet from the front rank of protestors.
"My name is General Ronald Chaffey, Commanding Officer of the Provisional Psionic Army of the United States of America." He pronounced his words slowly, clearly, and loudly, to be heard by all. "I would like to speak with your leader or spokesperson at this time. I must ask that the rest of you refrain from coming onto our property."
Nothing happened for several moments. And no one moved forward to speak with Ron. Someone, however, did throw a Molotov cocktail toward the group. Ron waited until it was an inch above the ground before stopping it. He floated it up to his hand, and extinguished the flame. He turned his attention back to the crowd.
"Let me make myself perfectly clear. Our organization has no interest in harming you, or any other normal person on the planet. However, if you force us to defend ourselves, I can guarantee that every last one of you will be sent to the hospital for several days, minimum. This organization is preparing for combat, and we do not need this kind of distraction. Please remove yourselves from the premises, immediately!"
The crowd burst forward at the end of those words, and Ron just glared at them. Why do people have to be such dickheads? He waited until they'd closed to ten feet, and then he erected his extension into a wall. It was almost comical to watch people running into something that they could almost, but not quite, see, and stop dead in their tracks. Ron waited until everyone was pressing against it, and then he flung his energy outward, flinging the protestors to the ground, some of them more than twenty feet from where they started.
"That was merely a warning!" he shouted. "The next attack will be met with real force!"
But these people were not to be reasoned with. By now, Ron noticed that a news truck had shown up, and was taping the confrontation. He stood with his people, now closed in together, facing off against a much larger number of people.
Ron smiled at her momentarily, knowing that she needed a confidence boost, that she was not used to facing such an unenvious position as the coming war was likely to put her in. Once more, Ron turned to the crowd.
"I will ask you again to leave the premises peacefully! At this time you are trespassing on private property! This is not, I repeat NOT a government installation! We will not attack you, but we will defend ourselves with as much force as is required! Leave now!"
Ron's words merely incited the crowd to attack again. Ron rolled his eyes, and focused on the lead attacker. That person was picked up and physically thrown into the people behind him. Ron repeated this four times, five, six. Still, the people kept coming. Finally, Ron had enough.
As his friends put a look of concentration on their faces, Ron formed a wall of fire in front of him. This wall was pure, pulsing mental energy. He pushed it outward, toward the attackers. The closest were the most foolish, trying to stand their ground, believing it to be an illusion. As the wall touched them and their clothing burst into flame, they ran, screaming, down the driveway. Seeing this, the rest of the attackers moved back, but not quickly enough. Several more got singed before it became a mass retreat, and all the protestors left the premises, running down the road.
Ron had made sure to keep his attack well away from the news crew filming the scene. He didn't want them to report that he had endangered the life of a journalist. As soon as the energy wall faded, they began to move toward Ron. Both Lars and Kim stepped in front of him to stop her, but Ron spoke up.
"Let them come."
"But, sir, we don't need this now..." Kimberly said.
Ron laid his hand on her shoulder, and she turned to look him in the eye. "We have to let the American people know the truth. We have to let them know what we're all about. We can't be fighting the Russians on one side, and our own people on the other. As easy as it is to defeat normals, it is also counter-productive."
His hand did not leave her shoulder as she bowed in acceptance of his decision. As she straightened, he removed his hand, but told her telepathically,
Kimberly couldn't tell what was so special about the yellow sun dress she was wearing, but was willing to follow the orders of her leader, so she stood behind him, always maintaining a presence in the shot.
"Mr. Chaffey, I'm Melissa Conway, of Channel 6 news. May we have a few words with you?"
"By all means, Ms. Conway."
"What was the disturbance here all about?"
"Well, Melissa, some people are concerned about our real motives and intentions toward the American people. The President's words the other night were not entirely clear on just exactly what the PPA stands for."
"And what do you stand for, General Chaffey?"
Ron blew off her use of the title. "Well, basically, we believe in liberty, justice, and all the other American ideals. We believe that no other nation should attempt to take those things from the American citizens. We believe it is our duty to aid our country in repelling any such threat. What we do not believe in, Melissa, is threatening ordinary Americans with violence because they are different in some way. We don't believe in a separate class of citizenry. Not all of the PPA members are American citizens, but all have sworn to uphold the laws and the Constitution of the United States. We do what we do because we believe in it."
"When do you expect the war to reach American soil?"
"I honestly do not know."
"Do you have any damage or casualty estimates?"
"Somewhere between zero and one hundred percent." He saw the annoyed look on her face, and so he continued. "I'm sorry, Melissa, but anyone who is giving odds on this war is either a fool, or a damned liar. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know how many cities will be damaged. I don't know how many people will have to die. All I do know," and Ron looked straight into the camera as he said these next words, "Is that the Russians will take America only over my dead body."
"Thank you, General Chaffey. This is Melissa Conway reporting for Channel 6 news."
As Ron started to walk away, Melissa caught up with him. "How much of what you just told me is hype?"
"Not a damned word of it. Look, I'm only sixteen. I'm not a politician, I'm not a bureaucrat. Hell, I'm not even really a soldier. I never wanted this job. See these people here? They all asked me to do it. I don't want to. I'd sooner be back in high school than deal with this shit. But this is where I am, and this is what I have to do. I don't want the American people thinking that we're some blood-thirsty mob, or some power-hungry group looking to take over. All the PPA is, is a group of psionics hoping to stop a war before it kills all of us."
"You expect me to believe all that?"
"Look, what do I have to do to convince you?"
"How about a look inside this compound? At your weapons, and your training?"
"I'll allow that, if you'll allow us to view what you put on the air before you run it. My only reason for asking for that is that there are some things we don't want the bad guys to know about: some of our tactics and the number of people we have, that sort of thing. If you can agree to that, then I will give you an exclusive on this story. I promise I will give you a good reason for asking you to not run any piece of footage."
"Agreed." Her cameraman looked at her in total shock. Ron's friends were looking at him in dismay.
Ron's friends suddenly nodded their understanding, and they all agreed to participate in the story.
Meanwhile, in the house, Shelly Saunders was wandering, trying to learn the layout, in case the fighting came here. When she ventured into what appeared to be a bedroom wing, she heard muffled noises coming from one of the bedrooms. Being the curious type, Shelly could not help but go to check it out.
Turning in the doorway, she froze, her mouth agape. What she saw before her was Sandra Chaffey, matriarch of the household, fucking herself silly with a dildo. Her hand was pumping it furiously in and out of her pussy, while her other hand played with a nipple. She was moaning into a pillow in a vain attempt at keeping quiet. Why she didn't just shut the door, Shelly would never bother to ask.
The sight she was seeing had Shelly's panties wet in seconds. Shelly had never slept with a man, but she'd had plenty of sex. And Sandra was one of the most attractive women she'd ever seen nude. Her hand slipped up to her breast without her notice, and she began rubbing herself outside her uniform. As she watched the beautiful woman before her excite herself, Shelly's other hand soon found its way beneath her uniform skirt, and was moving rapidly between her legs.
Shelly watched for a few more moments before she decided to take the chance. She removed her uniform: it would need washing now, anyway, and stepped fully into the room, closing the door silently behind her. Without a sound, she moved toward the bed.
She needn't have been so quiet about it: Sandra was fully involved in her activity, and her eyes were squeezed tightly shut. When she felt the velvet of someone's tongue slip lightly across her nipple, however, they opened quickly. Shelly could feel the butterflies in her stomach: if the woman screamed, her career was over. She had never forced herself on another woman. She couldn't stop her tongue, though, and she continued licking Sandra's nipple, expanding her movements to include most of the one breast.
When Sandra finally reacted, it was to Shelly's great relief that Sandra gently pulled the girl's head into her breast, pushing it further into Shelly's mouth. She sucked and nibbled on the offered breast, and her hands roamed her partner's body.
Sandra moaned with the sensation of it. She had been so horny last night, but Ron had once again not been available. She was having one of her few good mornings as of late, and she had taken the time to relieve her frustration. It had not occurred to her that she should close the bedroom door, as she had never bothered before. Feeling a new tongue on her body was a pleasure she had not expected, but most certainly welcomed.
Shelly moved her mouth to the other breast, and kept massaging Sandra's flesh with her hands. Soon, one hand found its way down to the dildo still embedded in Sandra's pussy. Shelly took hold of the plastic dick and began moving it in and out of Sandra using slow, smooth strokes. Sandra moaned in pleasure. It was so much better when you didn't have to do the work yourself.
Shelly's movement of the dildo increased in pace, and Shelly moved her mouth down to flick her tongue against Sandra's pussy lips, occasionally slipping it against her clit. Sandra pulled Shelly's body over her, so that Shelly's pussy was above her face. Sandra took the time to explore the younger pussy with her eyes. It was tight, pink, and had neatly trimmed hair that was intended to set off, rather than hide, her cunt. Sandra could wait no longer, and slipped her tongue out, and ran it along the girl's pussy lips, slipping between them to find her opening and slide in.
Shelly let out a loud moan as Sandra's tongue slid up into her pussy. Her movement of the dildo faltered, but only for a few moments. As Sandra continued to slowly lick the girl's cunt, Shelly fucked the dildo in and out of her even faster. Shelly was amazed at the talent of this woman, who already had her very near to coming. She was writhing on top of the woman, barely able to control her movements. In a last-ditch effort to bring the woman off with her, Shelly reached down and turned the dildo's vibrator on full power.
Sandra's pussy was electrified with the sensation. A powerful wave of pleasure splashed up her spine, and back down. In a reflex reaction, she pulled Shelly's cunt even further onto her face, and her tongue lashed at the girl's clit. Shelly was soon screaming with her orgasm, and Sandra wasn't far behind her. Both women thrashed on the bed until their bodies passed through the ultimate in pleasure, and they began to calm down. As they caught their breath, Shelly turned off the dildo, which had fallen from Sandra's pussy during the throes of passion. She turned herself around, so that she was now facing Sandra for the first time.
Sandra embraced the girl, and kissed her. Their mouths opened immediately, and Shelly could taste her juices on Sandra's tongue as it slipped into Shelly's mouth, wrestling with her own tongue. They continued their kissing until they'd each caught their breath, and they were now again slightly aroused.
Sandra pulled back from the girl and said, "Let's take a shower. I think we both need one."
Shelly agreed, and they used the shower next to Sandra's bedroom. They had barely gotten themselves wet, when Sandra had to rush to the toilet. After vomiting repeatedly, she wiped her mouth with a rag, under Shelly's concerned gaze. She needed the shower now more than ever, and so returned to join her new friend under the spray.
"Are you okay? Maybe you should go to the doctor," Shelly said with concern.
"I already have," answered Sandra. "It's just morning sickness. It'll pass."
"Morning... you're pregnant? Congratulations!" Sandra just smiled in response. "Boy, I'll bet your son was thrilled to find out he was going to have a little brother or sis..." Shelly paused as she saw the look on Sandra's face.
"Ron doesn't know yet... and it won't be his sibling."
"What do you mean? Okay, half-brother or half-sister, I guess... What?" Shelly could see that Sandra wasn't sure she wanted to say what came next.
"It'll be Ron's son or daughter."
"You're... sleeping with your own son?" she asked incredulously.
Sandra nodded. "Ever since my husband left me... I don't really know how it all started, but Ron's the only one I've slept with since my husband left. Does that disgust you?" Sandra figured she'd just lost her newest friend.
Shelly considered for a moment. Though what Sandra was talking about was outside of societal norms, so was her lifestyle. And, truth be told, the idea didn't really bother her that much, she had just been startled by Sandra's admission. "Well... it's a little weird... But, I suppose, if you're happy... I don't know. I've never slept with a guy, my brother was a jerk, so there was never that temptation... my father was abusive, but not in that way... I just..."
"Shelly, are you a lesbian?"
"Yeah. I've had lots of women... not many as pretty as you are, though.”
Sandra blushed. "Well, that's fine with me... Most of the girls here are bisexual... I know this will seem sick to you, but Ron sleeps with most of the women here. It's not rape or anything like that. All of us just seem to find him almost irresistible."
"Probably has something to do with him being a psionic."
"Could be. I asked him to explain it all to me once, and he did, but it never really made any sense. I decided it was enough to know that we love each other, and that we care for each other in every way."
"Will I be expected to sleep with him?" She did not want to be forced into that sort of thing.
"Not if you don't want to, no. He doesn't force anyone. Besides, I think he's going to be too busy to worry about sex, soon." In a playfully hurt voice, she continued, "What's the matter, don't you find my son attractive?"
Shelly blushed. "Well, as guys go, yeah, he is... but... I don't know... I've just never really been 'into' guys."
Sandra embraced the girl beneath the hot water stream. "Then don't worry about it. He won't pressure you for something you don't want to give... But I might ask for your talents from time to time!" She kissed Shelly again, and their tongues intertwined for several moments before they broke the kiss.
Shelly said, "Any time, anywhere!" and then laughed. Sandra joined in before she got a serious look on her face.
"Shelly, I have to ask you for a favor."
"Don't let on to Ron about my being pregnant. He has enough to worry about now, what with the war, and already having Linda's baby on his conscience."
"That one's his, too?"
"No woman who actually lives here sleeps with any man but Ron. Well, except Karen, who's become attached to Lars."
"Ron puts up with that?"
"He and Karen never slept together, as far as I know. Ron's not the competitive type. I've talked with him about it: he's happy that Karen finally found someone."
"He seems to be a very special person."
"He is. But please, don't let him know about my baby. It was my idea, and I don't know if he might not be a little upset about it."
"I won't say a word. Does anyone else know?"
"All the girls do. Nikki's furious that she's not pregnant yet."
"She wants to get pregnant by her own brother?"
"She feels left out. He's already given her older sister a child, and now me. I told her that her time would come."
"You have a very unusual family, Sandra."
"I know. But we like it. Now, we've still got about fifteen minutes of hot water left, so we should wash up. I really need a shower, bad."
"I'll wash your back if you wash mine," Shelly offered.
"Okay, and I'll wash your front if you'll wash mine..." Sandra replied, and they both laughed.
It took a full two weeks to get the United Nations Security Council to assemble. None of them could believe or digest the information coming out of the United States these days. The Russian ambassador was openly hostile to the Americans, while the rest seemed either cool, or almost completely disinterested.
The Secretary-General got the meeting underway, and then immediately gave the floor to the American ambassador, Leonard Green.
"Gentlemen of the Security Council," he began, "I come before you today with a problem. The United States has suffered the attack of a Russian fleet. We know this without question. We have provided to each of you, in your folders, the visual proof of the attack, along with the eyewitness testimony of several dozen sailors from the fleet that was attacked.
"Gentlemen, I would also like to point out that, in the last two weeks, there have been two more attacks on American vessels underway. We have held this information from our citizens in order that we not cause a panic. However, it is at this time that we must insist on answers from the Russian people as to what their motives are behind such unprovoked attacks." The US ambassador sat down, and it was clear that he expected the Russian ambassador to respond now. The Russian did not disappoint him.
"Gentlemen," the Russian ambassador said in heavily accented English, "I can categorically deny that the Russian government has any part whatsoever in the attacks upon American vessels. Our President has given no orders to our ships at sea to attack anyone. We have not mobilized any forces whatsoever in the past three months. I am grieved by the American ambassador's tone, and I wish you all to know that our people want only peace."
"Then why, Mister Ambassador," the American blurted, "Have your ships attacked ours? This information is not in question. They were Russian vessels."
In response, the Russian said calmly, "I do not see the facts as clearly as you do, Mister Ambassador. As a matter of fact, I call into question the validity of even the photographs in this so-called report. As to the 'eyewitness accounts', well, we know that American servicemen will say what their government tells them to say. How can we be expected to believe anything that comes from a government that believes in fairy tales? Would you care to show me one of your 'supermen', Mr. Ambassador?"
Only because he was a diplomat was Leonard Green able to reign in his anger. His voice was cold and calculated when he finally responded. "If necessary, I am sure that we can provide proof of the existence of psionics. However, I do not have one with me here today. I can assure you that the United States government has incontrovertible proof of the existence of such people. This is not, however, relevant to the issue before this council-" He got no further before he was interrupted- a first for him -by the Russian ambassador.
"It is most certainly pertinent to this issue! You accuse our government of, at the very least, having no control over its military. You suggest that our soldiers, our planes, and our ships are being controlled by people who are not elected by our country, and you tell us that this information comes to you by way of these... these 'psionics'. Further, you tell us that it is the psionics of our own country that are wanting to start a war! You do not feel it is enough to accuse the Russian government of wrongdoing now? You must accuse our people directly?"
"Mr. Ambassador, I will tell you again that the information we have comes from reliable sources, and is being double- and triple-checked even as we speak. However, there has been no information turned up that would contradict the original report. We have evidence of psionics in our country. It is only reasonable to assume that if we have some, everyone does. While ours have proven to be loyal to our nation, it is not necessarily the case that everyone would be. We do not blame your countrymen, Mr. Ambassador. Only those who are actually responsible."
"But you have no proof that these people actually exist, except for the word of people that would not be considered good witnesses in a court of law! Your whole argument is flawed! I, for one, do not need to listen to you insult my country. I would ask that you carry on with this charade, and get it over with."
"Very well, Mr. Ambassador. Mr. Secretary-General, the United States asks for a full investigation into the behavior of the Russian armed forces, specifically the Northern Fleet of their Navy. Furthermore, we request sanctions be placed against the Russian government until they cooperate fully with such investigations."
"Mr. Ambassador," intoned the Secretary-General, "Even without a vote, I can tell that you do not have the support of enough members of this body for such a thing. Furthermore, I see no evidence that would encourage me to push these members into voting in your favor. Perhaps the American government should look elsewhere to place blame for the unfortunate incident in the Atlantic."
"Unfortunate, Mr. Secretary-General? I do not think unfortunate is the word I would use to describe it. Unprovoked is a good word. Inhuman is one I might use. BARBARIC comes to mind, but not 'unfortunate', sir. I demand a vote of this body!"
"It is your right to do so. All in favor of the proposed investigation and sanctions, signal through your voting system." It took only a few seconds before the tally came up 14-1, against. "As I said, Mr. Ambassador-" the Secretary-General stopped speaking, as the Ambassador was already leaving the room. "This meeting is adjourned until 2pm this day."
"In an unprecedented move, the United States government unilaterally pulled out of the United Nations earlier this afternoon. Troops of the Army and the New York National Guard were assembled to escort all UN ambassadors out of the country. They each boarded an airliner of their respective nation, and returned home. The President had these few words on the matter:"
"In our nation's history, we have always chosen to stand alone against a larger, more powerful enemy rather than to acquiesce to the demands of an unfair overseer. Once again, the people of America are required to stand alone. We will do this, but we will not tolerate the presence of possibly hostile foreign nationals on our soil while we do it.
"Furthermore, I am announcing at this time that all foreign visas are being cancelled. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are being directed at this time to return to your country of origin. The United States is faced with the first war on its home soil in more than a century. We cannot risk that some people who are here are not friendly to our way of life. Resident visas are not being cancelled: if you are well on your way to becoming an American citizen, you will be allowed to stay. However, all work and travel visas are hereby revoked.
"To the American people, I can only say this: the world has decided that they don't want to get involved in our troubles. All of the work we have done to attempt to bring peace to our planet means nothing to them when real trouble rises up. But we will not retreat from our position. If an attack is coming, and it seems that it is, then we will be ready to meet that attack, and crush it."
The anchor continued, "In other news tonight-" Ron turned the TV off in disgust, and tossed the remote on the table. Shelly Saunders, Kim and Jeff were watching with him.
"So, we're all alone now, eh?" Shelly said.
"We were alone before. He just made it official," Ron snarled.
"You seem upset, sir. What's wrong?" Kim inquired.
"Would you stop calling me 'sir'? I'm sixteen! I'm not a 'sir' yet. And what's wrong is that every possible mistake that our illustrious President could make, he's making!"
"Oh. But s... I mean, Ron, what should he do different?"
"He should shut his big yap. There is some information the American people do not need. This is one of those times that you keep the cards close. You don't send the army to remove a bunch of diplomats. You send paperwork to remove diplomats. You don't hold a press conference to announce it; you keep it under your hat as long as possible. When the press asks you why you did it, you tell them it was for security reasons, and drop it. This," Ron gestured to the TV, "is going to make life hell for everyone."
"Ron, I hate to be the one who has to stick up for the man, but he's doing the best he can. He was never a foreign policy genius, after all," said Shelly.
Ron turned on her, but took a deep breath before letting out what he so wanted to say. After all, it wasn't her fault her boss was a jack-ass. "Right. Well, now we just have to worry about what's going to happen next. Jeff, what do we have, intelligence-wise?"
"Not a goddamned thing, boss. We don't have jack-shit on what they're going to try next."
"Well, get some people out there and find out. I don't care how. We have to know where they're going to strike if we're going to try to stop them."
"Yessir!" he barked, and left the room in a trot.
"Shelly, get with your people, and see if they have any inkling of what's coming, and ask them if they've started a locator project for their psionics in service yet."
"Yes, sir!" she chimed, and off she went.
"What do you want me to do?" Kim asked.
"Make sure our troops are ready. Trouble could be just around the corner. How's your training coming?"
Her face fell as she spoke. "Not as well as I would like. I am not living up to the standards of the PPA."
Ron put his hands on her shoulders and said softly, "Hey! It may just take you a little longer to learn it. That's okay. Don't give up on me now, I need you." That brought her eyes up to meet his. "You're one of my best leaders. Okay, maybe you aren't the strongest in your unit. That's not important. You're a leader, and I need leaders. You are important to the team. I need you at the head of that group. Okay?"
Kim smiled wanly, but nodded her head in agreement. "I'll keep working on it, sirrr... Ron."
"Good. I've got a few things to take care of. Keep a happy thought." Ron walked out of the room, leaving Kimberly to wonder both about her doubts about her mission, and about the strange lack of concentration she felt in Ron's presence.
Ron made his way through the house over to the facility, where the rooms had been rearranged, and much larger partitions had been set up, so that the large number of people could be accommodated. The soldiers were also separated from the civilians, to keep any sort of mischief to a minimum. Ron stopped at the desk to ask Megan where he could find the people he was looking for. She directed him to a room, and he walked in.
The room was crowded with at least twenty people, living in a small space. Ron made his way over to where Tammy and her family were sitting. He waited until he had their attention. "Tammy, get your stuff together. You're moving into the main house. At the request of your 'soul-sister'."
It was a term that Nikki and Tammy had used back when they were in elementary school. It told Tammy that she was back in good graces with her long-time friend. She began to pack her stuff. Her father said, "What about us?"
"I'm sorry, but there isn't any more room in the house. Tammy will be staying in Nikki's room, which is why I can allow it." Tammy continued to pack her things, ignorant of the conversation.
As they stood up to leave, some people around her who were aware of what was going on started to protest. One man in particular, who was a relative of one of Ron's protected people, complained loudly. "Why does she get special treatment? What makes her so damned special? How dare you allow her to move into greater comfort while my niece is packed in here like-"
"Shut up," Ron said quietly. The man didn't listen.
"Don't tell me to shut up! This is a free country! I demand to know why that girl will have more comfortable living quarters than my niece!"
Ron turned and faced the man. In a voice that few had ever heard Ron use, he responded, "Because I want it that way." Although his voice was not loud, it silenced the entire room. "Now, I would advise you to shut your mouth, sit down, and stay out of my face, or I'll use you as a protective barrier when the Russians arrive. I did not have to provide protection for you. I chose to do so because your niece is a friend of mine. Do not make me regret that decision."
The man's face had turned deathly pale as Ron's fury had washed over him. The people in the room backed away, both from Ron, and the man that had angered him. They didn't want to be in the way when the sparks started flying. The man cringed backward as Ron moved past him, toward the door. Ron intended only to use his extension to open the door, but he was so pissed off that the door went flying off its hinges, impacting and denting the wall on the other side of the hallway. The room filled with gasps, seeing the awesome energy that Ron was capable of.
Out in the hallway, Ron leaned against the wall to let himself calm down. Tammy, who was only slightly more used to Ron's power, and who had seen his temper before, kept her distance. When he opened his eyes and saw her, he smiled slightly. "Sorry 'bout that. You know where to go, don't you?"
"Yeah. Ron... thanks for letting us stay."
"Thank Nikki. It was her decision." He watched her walk off down the hall, and then turned to the guards who had shown up, having heard the commotion. "Have somebody fix that door."
"Yes, sir!" they responded in unison.
His name was Daniel, and he was leading a small band of psionics in the Chicago area. They'd been overlooked by CAMP simply because of their distance from New Mexico. None of the other organizations that had approached him had seemed stable enough to provide a home. Daniel and the few other psionics he'd found were alone, and facing the worst danger of their young lives.
They'd been hiding ever since the President's pronouncement about their existence. People he thought were friends had turned on him almost immediately. Daniel led his people into the worst parts of Chicago. These were places that nobody would want to look for them.
Except for the Russians.
It happened one morning: Carla woke him up with a panicky whisper. She'd been on guard duty, and felt the Russians' mental energy sweep over her and lock on. They were all quickly up and running. Having trained himself, it had never occurred to Daniel that he might be able to fly. Since he had been responsible for training most of the others, they weren't up to it, either. They ran down back alleys and hid behind dumpsters, but they knew that eventually they would have to fight.
The Russians finally chased them out into the open, in downtown Chicago. Too many people, Daniel thought, but he couldn't concern himself with their lives until he was certain he could save his own. Knowing that he had to stand and fight, He stopped in front of what had once been the tallest building in the world. The Sears tower loomed behind him as he turned to fight the Russians, his friends fanned out to cover a wide front. Daniel had almost two dozen psionics in his gang.
But they were faced with more than fifty. This was not the old tactic of the Filitov Council. This was a full-blown battle force. They had kept themselves on the ground because they had discerned that none of these people had learned to fly, and they didn't want to give them any ideas. The Russians fanned out to cover Daniel's group, and it was better than two on one odds.
Daniel and his friends tensed, and the onslaught came. At first, it was just unfocused energy, thrown haphazardly at them. Daniel knew, and told his friends, that this was both to test their strength, and to make them overconfident. Soon, the attacks took different forms. Carla found a Volvo hurtling toward her, and was able to duck out of the way as it soared past her head. Sean, another member of the group, was taken out by a lamp post impaled through his head. Daniel fought off the pickup truck aimed for him, and tossed it back at his attackers, but to no avail.
Back and forth the battle raged, but only for a few moments. The Russian leader took two of his best and departed, unnoticed, from the battle scene.
Daniel was nearly hit by a flying bench, but had managed to deflect it at the last minute. He tried to formulate his own attack, but every time he tried to focus, another attack would come, and he would be caught almost off guard. That is why he didn't notice that the Russian attackers had split themselves, and were now attacking from both sides, rather than in a semicircle.
It wasn't until the ground began to tremble that Daniel started to worry. The shaking grew worse, but the Russians pressed their attacks. He wondered how they could stand up, the shaking was so bad. It was then that he realized that not a single Russian was touching the ground. My God! They can fly! This thought distracted him from the attack that killed him, throwing him backwards into the building, and crushing his skull.
It would not have mattered in any case, for a few short seconds later, the Sears Tower, tallest building in Chicago, toppled, having been pushed over by the Russian leader and his helpers. The small band of American psionics had nowhere to run. They were caught beneath the falling weight of the building. Even the strongest of psionics would have had difficulty surviving such a force coming down on top of them. These poor souls never stood a chance. Their screams were drowned out by the roar of the falling building, which took out several other buildings as it toppled into them, and knocked them over, almost in a domino effect. When all was said and done, six office buildings were collapsed or unsafe, and eight more were damaged. Along with the twenty-two American psionics, the Russians had killed several thousand people working in those office buildings. The report ran on the news that night.
"Jesus Fucking Christ!" Ron screamed, having seen the report on the news. All of the leaders were there: Kim, Jeff, Lars, Shelly. They all witnessed the devastation. None of them could find words. Ron quickly recovered, but his anger was evident.
"Jeff, tell me you've got news."
"Sir, we never saw this coming. All the info we have says they're planning to hit Philadelphia soon."
"Very well. Keep working on it. Shelly, what have your people got?"
"Sir, they have absolutely no intel on any of this. Their psionic program is getting a slow start, as no one wants to admit to having the Ability. Our generals were wondering if you could spare someone to go out and talk to the troops."
"I'll do that myself in the next couple of days. Kim, how do our troops look?"
"Most of them are ready, Ron. The others should be in a few days... well, there are a few of us who are pretty shaky..." Ron knew she meant she was still unsure.
"You'll do fine, Kim. Don't worry." Worrying over her calmed his anger somewhat, though. "Okay, guys. Now we've seen what they're capable of. We know they're not going to give a crap about the normal people. I don't even want to think about how many people died in today's little mishap, but the numbers are only going to get worse. Jeff, I want you to assign a few of your people to watch CNN and the news every day. From now on, we don't watch it. We need to know what the enemy is up to, but seeing it live and in color is only going to hurt morale. I want to know when they're hitting Philadelphia, because we're going to be there."
"Yes, sir!" all four said at once.
"Dismissed," Ron concluded.
Kimberly had checked on the troops, and they were doing fine. It was her own skills that had her worried. She was in the "family wing" of the house, looking for Lars. She felt she could talk to him about her problems: she knew and trusted his reactions. As she approached Lars' door, however, it was obvious that he was "otherwise engaged" with Karen. In frustration, she continued down the hallway, past Nikki's room, where further sounds of pleasure could be heard. She stopped a moment, wondering if Nikki and Ron... but no, her brief scan showed that it was her friend, Tammy, that Nikki was making love to. So, some of the girls here are bisexual. Kim so wanted to join them, to feel that release that she needed from the strain, but didn't dare intrude on them. It would have been tactless to just knock in the middle of such an act, and just barging in was not Kim's style. She continued down the hallway.
Ron, meanwhile, was involved in something he'd rather not be doing, but felt was necessary. He was just now flying over the coast of England, having actually flown himself over the Atlantic. He had worried about how tired it might make him, but had managed it rather well. It had taken several hours, but he figured that he could use the workout, in preparation for the war that was coming. Having made it into England, he landed in a small village outside of London, to rest at a quiet inn for the night. He would tackle his major task the next day.
Kim's wandering finally brought her in front of Linda's room, where the door was open. She could see that Linda was seated on a chaise lounge, reading a novel. Kimberly made to leave without interrupting, but Linda looked up at that moment.
"Hi, Kim! What's up?"
"Hello, Linda. I needed to talk to Lars, but he's... busy."
Linda got a funny smirk on her face. "I'll bet. Those two are like rabbits lately. Is there anything I can help you with?"
Kimberly vacillated between revealing her troubles to this woman, or just leaving, but decided that she had to tell someone. She stepped in and closed the door. "If I tell you some things, will you promise to keep them from Ron?"
Linda straightened immediately. "Well, that depends on whether they could hurt him or not. I am obligated to Ron."
"I understand. These things are personal things, about myself."
"Oh. Well, those things, sure, I can keep a secret." She almost giggled, but the look on the girl's face was far too serious for that. "Have a seat and tell me what's on your mind."
"I am extremely nervous about the upcoming war. I know that the people I command are ready, but I worry that I am not. I do not have the skills that the others possess. I am still only an Adept of the Third Order. Lars, and most of my men, are Second Order Adepts."
"I've never been able to understand the CAMP system, let alone your system, of classifying people," Linda responded, "But I don't think it's as important as you're making it out to be. Do your men trust you?"
"Yes, but I worry that they are putting too much faith in me. I don't want to let him down. I mean, I don't want to let them down."
The light was beginning to dawn in Linda's mind, but she couldn't come out and say it to this girl. Instead, she said, "Ron has not removed you from command, has he?"
"No! And he would never do that. He believes in me, for some reason."
"Ron must have a good reason. He doesn't put faith in people very easily."
"I think he has misplaced it in this case." The girl was very near tears.
"I've never seen Ron do that yet." Linda moved to sit beside the girl on the bed. "Look, I've been in this household for a while. I know Ron, and I know the rest of the family. He trusts you. They trust you. I trust you. Everyone's afraid of war, Kim."
"Not Ron! He fears nothing!" Her blind defense of him was almost an admission.
"Honey, Ron is more scared than you'd care to know. Do you think he wants to lead you into battle? He's scared out of his mind that he's going to let you down."
"That can't be. He is so strong, so confident..."
"He puts on a good show. Those of us who know him can see right through it. Did you hear about the little incident the other day in the facility?"
"When he moved Tammy into the house? Yes, why?"
"When Ron loses his cool, you know he's scared. Ron is a very strong psionic. Of course, when I came here, I didn't even know what a psionic was. But I've seen some of what he can do. Frankly, I worry for him. But I figure, that's my job, as one of his girlfriends: to worry about him." Linda was leading Kim down a road that she seemed to be fighting.
"But, how do I make sure that..."
"That you don't disappoint him? You won't. If you give it everything you've got, there is no way you can disappoint him."
"But what if I fail?"
"It won't matter to him. Oh, yeah, in the overall picture, he'll be pissed, but not at you. He'll be angry at himself for asking too much of you."
"What if I get him killed?"
The thought stopped her cold. Ron really could die in this war. Her voice was quavering as she continued, "Then you can mourn him with the rest of us."
"You would accept me here? Even if that were to happen?"
"All of Ron's girls will stick together for as long as we live."
"But I am not one of his girls."
"Maybe you need to look at yourself a little harder, Kim."
Kim stared at her, not knowing what she was talking about. She delved deep into her psyche, exploring her emotions. What she found there-
She bolted up off the bed to stand away from Linda, as if that would protect her from her own emotions. "No! I cannot!"
Linda stood up slowly. "You can protest it all you like, Kim. Do you think I wanted to fall in love with one of my students?"
"But you don't understand! I'm... I'm not... I cannot be falling in love with him."
"Why not?" Linda replied simply.
"Because... you will hate me if I tell you."
"I really doubt that. Remember, we're all friends here. Friends accept things about each other. Whatever it is, it can't be that bad."
"I have never loved a man. I am a lesbian," Kim blurted. She did not understand why Linda's face broke into a big grin before she laughed, not harshly, but warmly.
"Kimberly," Linda chided, "Just because you've never loved any other man, doesn't mean you can't love this one. Have you had relationships with very many women?"
"Only two," she answered.
"So, you haven't exactly been playing around very much, have you?"
"No, I cannot do that... I do not have the skills to manipulate people in that manner, and..."
"That's not what I meant, but my point is this: you are very picky about whom you love. You just haven't encountered a man that you loved before."
"No 'buts' about it. You can fight it all you want, but you will eventually have to admit to yourself that you are in love with Ron. Join the club, we're a friendly bunch."
Kim looked very uncertain of herself. She was struggling with the concept that she might actually be in love with a man. Well, a boy... no, he is more a man than anyone I have ever met.
Linda could see the indecision there, and she knew it would be best to take the girl's mind off it, so that she could come back to it later. "Kim?"
"Hmmm?" she replied, still a little lost in thought.
"Have you... made arrangements with anyone since you came here?"
Kim finally focused on what Linda was saying. "Arrangements for what?"
"I thought not," Linda concluded. "All this stress, and no relief. Come over here."
Linda led Kim to the bed and sat her down on it. Linda sat behind her and began to massage her shoulders, working out the tension she felt in the muscles. Kim closed her eyes and sighed. One of the other girls in the ShadowDragon used to do this for her, but since they had departed that guild, no one else had offered. Kim sank into the wonderful relaxation that Linda was bringing to her body. She leaned back into Linda, feeling Linda's body against her own, relishing the sensations.
Linda continued her movements until she felt that Kim had relaxed enough, and was used to Linda's touch. Truth be told, it had been a few days for Linda, and she was in need of a little 'tension release" herself. She widened the movement of her hands, caressing Kim's neck, her upper arms, the portion of her back that she could reach. Slowly, Linda's hands moved around to cup Kim's breasts. Kim sighed, and pressed her tits into Linda's soft hands.
Linda caressed Kim's tits, and began to kiss her neck. As she moved up toward Kim's ear, Kim turned her head, and their lips made electric contact. The softness of each woman's lips pressed passionately against the other's, though their touch was feathery. Kim's tongue pressed gingerly against her partner's upper lip, and Linda's mouth opened to admit the slippery visitor. Kim slid her tongue over Linda's tongue, and then moved it to caress the entire inside of her mouth, before inviting Linda to return the favor, which she did enthusiastically, as her hands continued to massage Kim's breasts. Linda had managed to open the buttons on Kim's blouse by now, and was fondling Kim's tits through only her bra.
It was more than Kim could stand, and she finally broke their kiss, turning around to face Linda on the bed, and pushing her onto her back. Kim stroked Linda's face softly, passing her fingers across Linda's lips, which Linda kissed gently. Then Kim began to run her hands over Linda's clothed body, feeling her arms, her sides, her legs. Having fully roamed the terrain, Kim settled, for now, on Linda's breasts, stroking them smoothly through the fabric of her T-shirt. It took Kim only a second to realize that Linda was not wearing a bra, and this realization drove Kim crazy with the need to see those tits. She pulled Linda's shirt out of her pants, and pushed it up past those beautiful mounds of flesh. Kim inhaled sharply as she saw the wonderful body before her. She softly tweaked a nipple, and Linda shivered in pleasure. Kim took the time to remove her own blouse, then reached around to unhook her bra, letting it fall to the floor. She then returned to caressing Linda's breasts, lavishing much attention on them. Linda returned the favor, as Kim straddled her abdomen so that they could reach each other more easily.
Their heat began to rise as Kimberly leaned down and once again kissed Linda, their tongues mingling. Kim slid down Linda's body, moving so that her thigh pressed into Linda's crotch. Linda moaned into Kim's mouth, and wrapped her arms around Kim, pulling her down so that their breasts were mashed together, and their nipples moved against each other's flesh as their bodies shifted.
Linda's hands soon found their way to Kim's skirt fasteners, undoing them quickly, and pushing the skirt down Kim's hips, so that Linda could feel that firm ass without the fabric in the way. Kim was wearing bikini style panties, and Linda enjoyed the feel of Kim's supple ass cheeks.
Kim was not passive, however. She had returned her attention to Linda's tits, and was caressing them more firmly now. Their lips remained locked as they moved together, exciting each other with their hands and mouths. One of Kim's hands slipped down to undo the buttons on Linda's jeans, completing the task with remarkable ease, thanks to some help from her mental extension. Her hand then eased its way into Linda's pants, working its way down to her crotch. The heat there was intense, and Linda's panties were drenched in her juices. Kim pressed the fabric up into Linda's cunt, and received a moan in return.
It was at this point that neither of them could take it anymore, and separated to remove the remainder of their clothes as quickly as possible. Having stripped completely, they returned to their embrace. Kim's hand quickly slipped down to Linda's pussy, one finger slipping easily past her pussy lips. Linda moaned as Kim finger-fucked her, and moved her mouth onto one of Linda's nipples, flicking her tongue rapidly across it, sending quivers of pleasure through Linda's whole body. Linda, meanwhile, reached out and again began to caress Kim's breasts, lightly rolling and pinching the nipples as she kneaded the titflesh gently. Soon, both women were moaning in the sensations.
Kim moved herself down Linda's body, and began to flick her tongue at Linda's clit while continuing the movement of her finger inside of Linda's cunt. She added a second finger as she lapped at the juices coming from Linda's pussy.
Linda pulled Kim fully on top of her, and wasted no time in pulling that beautiful cunt down onto her own face. Linda ran her tongue along Kim's pussy lips, stopping just short of her clit. She repeated this motion, faster and faster, hearing Kim's moans become louder and longer as she did it. Finally, Linda ran the full length of her tongue across Kim's clitoris. Kim moaned loudly, and had a short, but powerful, orgasm. Linda lapped up the juices as Kim returned her attention to Linda's body, now intent on returning the favor.
Kim removed her fingers from Linda's pussy, and replaced them with her tongue, shoving it as far as she could into Linda's love hole. She placed her middle finger against Linda's asshole and gently pressed in. As Linda moaned with the feeling of it, Kim's finger slipped in to the second knuckle. Soon, Kim's tongue and finger were working in concert to bring Linda to her peak.
Linda could take only so much of this kind of pleasurable torture before her body exploded in orgasm. She did the best she could to continue lapping at Kim's pussy through her passions, and her movements only added to Kim's excitement. Kim came from the sensations on her clit, and the sheer pleasure of the moment.
As they finally settled down from their activities, Kim moved up to face Linda, and they kissed warmly, letting them each taste their own juices in the other's mouth. They embraced and lay back on the bed for a long while before speaking. It was Kim who broke the silence.
"Linda, you won't tell Ron about what we discussed, will you?"
"I said I wouldn't. This is something you're going to have to tell him yourself."
"What if I can't?"
"You'll be able to when you're ready. Don't worry about it. Until then, when the pressure starts to get to you, feel free to come see me, or any of the other girls here. We'll be happy to provide some stress relief." Both girls smiled at that, and they kissed once more, happy to enjoy the peaceful moment. They knew there would not be many more such moments in the near future.
Ron made his way to the palace the next morning. Standing in front of Buckingham Palace, he realized how huge the place truly was. He walked right past the guards, who never saw him. Neither did the hidden security cameras. He made his way into the castle, picking locks where necessary, and remaining invisible until he had reached the room where the king was presently having breakfast.
Ron made himself visible, and was immediately accosted by some sort of page or whatever they call them.
"What are you doing here? How did you get in here?"
Ron simply said, with a little added mental force, "Take me to see the King."
"Yes, sir. This way, sir." The boy led him into the King's dining room, and quickly departed. There was a guard in here, of course, but anyone who had made it this far without setting off an alarm, the guard reasoned, was not an immediate threat. It was lucky for him that he felt that way. The King, however, was not in the kindest of moods, and did not look favorably upon having his breakfast interrupted.
"Who the devil are you?" he demanded.
"Your Highnesses," he included the Queen in his greeting, "My name is Ronald Chaffey. I am the commanding officer of the Provisional Psionic Army of the United States of America."
"Oh, right," the King said sarcastically, "Sorry I didn't recognize you. I suppose you're come to tell me that all the bloody rubbish coming out of the States is the truth, are you?"
"Tell you? No, Your Majesty, I don't think that would be sufficient. So, why don't you ask your guard where his sidearm is?"
"What?" The King turned immediately to the guard, who reached for his holster, only to find the gun missing. The guard looked back at the King in incredulity, until Ron answered their question for them. He set the gun on the table.
"The gun, Your Majesty, is here. I removed it without him even knowing it. Furthermore, I removed it from over thirty feet away. Do you need more proof?"
"An interesting magic trick. It proves nothing."
"Fine. What would you have me do to prove to you that I am what we claim to be?"
"Give me the proof that your government claims to have."
"Very well." Ron focused his energy, and the rather large dining table floated swiftly off the floor and around the room.
"That's bloody brilliant!" the Queen interjected.
"Yes, quite so. I can see why your President chose to believe you. Very well, I think you have made your point. Can we have our breakfast back now?"
Ron brought the table back to exactly its original location, without spilling a drop of the Queen's orange juice. "Your Highnesses, I didn't come here to do parlor tricks. I came here to ask for your help. The war that has just started is going to affect the entire world, and we were hoping that Great Britain would be on our side."
The King considered for only seconds before replying, "First off, this would more properly be a matter for the Prime Minister. However, since you have brought it to me, let me tell you that the British people have had enough of wars, and we are not likely to get involved in this one, if there is, in fact, a war coming."
"The war is already here, Your Majesty. And it is on your soil. You can fight with us, against us, or on your own side, but you will have to be involved in the war, for it is already here."
"I can show you, if you like."
"I don't have time for any more of your parlor games. I have given you your answer, now leave me be!" It was at this point that the King's children entered the room. Both of them, a boy and a girl, were in their teens. The boy, who was seventeen, was slightly shorter than Ron, but of a more muscular build, with brown hair and green eyes. The girl, who had been the sweetheart of the world since her birth, was fifteen, had strawberry blonde hair, like her mother, and blue eyes, with the kind of body that must have made English teens drool. She was the one who spoke.
"Father, who is this?"
"He was just leaving Melissa."
"I'm not leaving until you hear me out, sire," Ron responded. The son, Mark, found this outrageous, and approached Ron ominously.
"My father said you're leaving, boy, so you are- Whoa!" The boy found himself flung to the ceiling, some twenty feet overhead. The King and Queen both jumped to their feet, while the girl just stared at Ron in awe.
"I am not going away until I am heard out. Is that understood?" That voice had returned, and the King knew menace when he heard it.
"Very well, just put our son down. Look, you can't come in here and threaten us in this manner."
"I have threatened no one. If I wanted to hurt any of you, you couldn't stop me. All I want is a half hour of your time."
"I do not have a half hour to give. Someone in this world has to host the United Nations from now on-"
"You might as well forget about the UN, sire. After this war, I doubt it will be a functioning body."
"Bloody rubbish! The UN will carry on as before. We will move it to Geneva, I'm sure, but we will continue to do business. I do not have time for your games."
"You will not come with me to witness proof of your own country's vulnerability?"
"I have no interest in any display or performance you have to show me."
Ron was very quickly losing his temper when the girl spoke up. "Father, permit me to go and see his proof. I have nothing to do today. I can come back and tell you what I have seen."
The Queen did not like that idea at all. "Melissa, we have no idea who this person is. I cannot in good conscience let you go off with him unescorted!"
"Oh, Mother, really!" the girl said in the cutest tone. "If he wanted to kidnap me, he'd have done it already!"
Ron spoke up at this point. "Your Majesty," he said, speaking to the Queen, "You may accompany us, or send a guard, if this will make you more at ease."
"Yes, Anne," the King replied, "You and Melissa go and see what this fellow has to show us."
"Very well, Richard," the Queen sighed. "Come, let us see what we shall see."
It had been a vigorous flight through the countryside. Ron had insisted that it was safer for the two of them if he transported them psionically, rather than using traditional means. While the Queen looked a little green, Melissa was having a blast.
They arrived at a small village in the northern part of England in less than five minutes. Melissa was trying to calculate the speed at which they had flown, when her attention was drawn to the village below.
"It's been destroyed!" she cried.
"My heavens!" the Queen exclaimed. "What has happened here?"
Ron set them down just outside the village. People were scrambling everywhere, trying to repair the damage and tend to the wounded. He approached someone who looked like he was in charge. "Sir, can you tell me what happened here?"
"Another bloody foreigner? I'll tell you what happened here. Some bleeding foreigners came down out of the sky, chased some of our friends into the forest, and in the meanwhile, nearly destroyed our whole village. We're very nearly put back to the Dark Ages here."
"When you say 'came down out of the sky', you mean they had helicopters?" the Queen asked.
The man turned to her as if to snap back at her, but then recognized who she was. He immediately bowed to her. "Pardon me, Your Majesty! I did not recognize you at first. No, ma'am, they didn't have helicopters or any other such contraption. These people could fly! I tell you, I know it sounds completely impossible-"
"Not after the ride we just took," interjected Melissa.
"Quiet, child!" snapped the Queen.
Just then, Ron felt a ripple in his senses. He saw a small group of people straggle out of the forest, and walk up to the man they had been talking to. Ron spoke before they had a chance.
"You are psionics?"
The leader of the group, though weary and battle-worn, turned to him and nodded. "And who are you, if I might ask?"
"Ron Chaffey, commanding officer-"
The leader interrupted, "You're Ron Chaffey?" He turned to his friends and said, "This is the bloke I was telling you about!" Turning back to Ron, he said, "We bloody well could have used your help last night."
"What happened?" the Queen asked.
The man recognized the Queen, but was much too tired to bow. He nodded in her direction. "Ma'am, we were attacked by people who don't speak English. They tore through the village looking for us, and we made off into the forest, but they apparently took out most of the village as they were following us into the trees."
"If you're a psionic, why didn't you come tell my father?"
"And be in the same bloody mess as the Americans? Not a chance!" Turning to Ron, he said, "What bloody fool told him about us, anyway?"
Ron bowed his head sheepishly. "I did. It was a necessary evil if we were to save civilian lives. Unfortunately, it has made life rather hard on the PPA at the moment. How many are in your band?"
"Sixty. We lost fourteen last night. The rest are hiding in the forest still. We came back to see if it was safe to return yet."
"It's not safe anywhere for us anymore, my friend."
"I bloody well hear that!"
The Queen was appalled that one of her subjects felt too frightened to come and talk to her husband. "You should have trusted us with this information. We would have protected you."
"Beggin' your pardon, Your Highness, but with what? You don't have a weapon in the armory that can stand up to these people." The man was much too weary to be worried about politeness.
"What's your name?" Ron asked.
"Thomas Warfield," the man answered. "My friends call me Tom."
"Okay, Tom. Get your people together, and bring them back here. I will have the PPA flight over some medical supplies, and a training team. Do you guys have any kind of training organization?"
"You mean like that CAMP place I heard about once? No. We learn here through trial and error."
"Okay, I'm going to send over a couple of our trainers. Obviously, you aren't safe just because you wanted to stay out of it. Hell, I wanted to stay out of it! We'll get you trained up. The rest..." He paused, and looked directly at the Queen, "Is out of my hands."
Ron returned home just as a large group of psionics was departing, flying east to head for England. Ron was greeted with a warm hug and kiss by Nikki, by a hug from Linda, and a bow from Kim. They all followed him into the study, to hear his news. Jeff, Lars, and Shelly were there waiting for him.
"Okay," he opened, "We have Great Britain on our side. They said they would speak to Ireland on our behalf, but the rest of Europe isn't real happy with them at the moment, so we're on our own as far as that's concerned. As soon as our people get the British troops fully trained, they'll be sending the best of them back here. From the reports we're getting, the US is the hardest hit location, so we're going to amass most of the psionics here. Well, not here, but in this country." He grinned at his feeble attempt at humor.
"Lars, what's the status on our battle plans?"
"We are ready for Philadelphia, Ron."
"Good. Shelly, what about the military?"
"They've signed off on your plan. They will be standing by to assist."
"Good. Jeff, what's intel saying?"
"They say the attack will come within the next four days."
"All right then, we're going to move our headquarters up that way in a day or two." He hesitated to ask his next question, not because he feared the answer, but because of the pressure it put on the answerer. "Kimberly," he said softly, "What's the status of our troops?"
Kimberly straightened herself to her full height. With only a slight waver in her voice, she said, "We are all ready, Ron." Ron gave her a smile of encouragement and support, and she felt her insides warm from seeing it. It's just anticipation, she told herself about the feeling. It will go away when the fighting starts.
"Okay, everyone. We know the Russians are hitting hard, and they're not just hitting the US. Britain has had attacks, we know about other attacks in France, Germany, South Africa, Egypt, Australia, Brazil, and some other places."
"Anything in the Orient, Ron?" Lars asked.
"There's something weird over there. We know the Russian people hate the Japanese as much as they hate us, but for some reason, they are steering clear of Japan. They've hit China, we know that. We don't know anything for sure about the other places, but we are getting reports from Japan, bypassing the news services and government, that say there have been no attacks."
"Why do you think that is?" Jeff asked.
"I don't know. Shelly, does the military know anything about this?"
"What we've heard, Ron, is that your information is correct. Other than that, we do not know anything at all. We don't know what the Japanese may have that worries the Russians so much that they refuse to go there."
"Hmm. Something tells me that won't last forever. These people want the world, and Japan is going to have to fall sooner or later."
"True enough," she replied.
"Well, we can't worry about that now. Our immediate concern is Philadelphia. Let's see if we can make a coordinated strike, and hit them hard. We leave out of here at 3pm tomorrow. Get everything ready. This is where the war starts for us."
"Yes sir!" they chimed. The "civilians" in the room just looked at each other with worry.
"And God help us," Ron muttered to himself, just loud enough that Kimberly heard him.
He is scared, she thought to herself. I have been selfish to lean so much on him, but I cannot help myself.
Ron saw the look pass over her face, but it was quickly gone. I wonder what that was about? Oh well, it'll keep. Tomorrow is the first day of World War Three. I wonder if we'll win?
Ron had not yet learned the first lesson of World Wars: no one wins. You only survive.
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