out a tinny breath of amazement through the speaker in Grimm's communicator.
'Woah.' she said. 'So Kwitcherbeliakin really did turn out to be dangerous.
Who'd have thought that Rhonda had a point?'
nodded, adjusting his arm in its sling with a wince. He was sitting
alone in the camp's infirmary cabin. Sakituya had gone to fetch some
special medicine. Rhonda had stayed for some of his treatment but when
Sakituya had set his arm, she turned green and stumbled back outside.
They had hiked through the night, reaching the camp just after dawn.
Despite the early hour, Sakituya was there within moments of their arrival,
as if he had been expecting them, or watching for them.
been full of surprises on this trip.' Grimm said.
said Jade. 'A Bear Priestess you say? I kinda get the strength and invulnerability
- but what did the 'spirit strike' do?'
shook his head. 'I'm not sure,' he said. 'Whatever it was, it tore up
the ground where it hit, but it didn't injure me - or Maze.'
damages objects, but not flesh?' said Jade, typing on her keyboard.
'Did it do anything to you?'
thought. 'Thing is, I was drugged and possessed at the time - but I
remember it hurt like blazes. And I felt totally drained for some time
afterwards - Rhonda had to help me walk back to camp....'
'Can't wait to get a sensor on that package....'
want to keep a close eye on it.' said Grimm. 'We need to train her until
she can tap into this power at will - no matter what it takes.
Dredge up every bit of research you can on Blackfoot mythology and the
Great Bear. Rhonda's gonna get a whole new training regimen -
and we're gonna be able to charge more premium prices. Wait 'till the
villains of the world learn they could have the Bear Priestess working
'On a related note,' she said. 'Looks like you've hit the big time.
I caught a report out of Go City. You remember that job you pulled for
Electronique? Turns out she wanted the components to work her mojo on
stared. 'You mean she....'
'Uh-huh. She pulled a 'mini-Mega Synaptic Transducer' on Team Go. Ron
even got caught up in it - but just for a few minutes.'
minds do think alike.....' said Grimm, smiling.
minds rip off from the bigger ones.' said Jade.
shook his head. 'Electronique had me deliver the components before
we launched our scheme in Middleton. The web forums are gonna be arguing
for months about who ripped off from who.'
shut off the communicator as Sakituya came back into the cabin with
a cup full of what smelled like herbal tea. 'Drink this,' he said, handing
the cup to Grimm. 'It will speed the healing process.' As Grimm grimaced
and drank the bitter-tasting concoction, Sakituya checked his sling
and the splint. 'You were most fortunate, Grimm Probable. I am somewhat
trained in treating field injuries. The break was clean and has set
well. But you should still have it properly checked and a cast set when
you return to your home.'
nodded, looking quietly at the Indian Chief. 'There is... something
you wish to say?' said Sakituya, who was putting bandages and gauze
back into their drawers and cupboards.
frowned slightly. 'Maze said that you and he disagreed on issues of...
power and how it should be used.' he said. 'You knew - didn't
you? You knew what was out there waiting for us, and what Maze was prepared
to do to get it.'
lowered his head and sighed. 'I knew that Maze had become darker in
his ambitions.' he said. 'His shadow-medicine is an ancient art, and
has not been practiced for many ages. It was long thought lost, but
I could sense it within him from the day he began to study it, like
a black spot on a clear window. I knew also that Katasistsikoowa
was destined to be a chosen one of the Great Bear Spirit, and that the
hollow she described was important.'
scowled. 'And you didn't think to warn us about any of it?'
smiled. 'Would you have believed me?'
said Grimm flatly. 'But we might have been more careful.'
of you might have acted differently, and things might have been better
- or perhaps worse. Who can say?'
had no answer to that. Sakituya sighed again and turned away. 'After
Rhonda left the camp when she was a child, I saw that I was wrong to
meddle with the path the Great Bear had laid before her - even as gentle
as I thought my efforts were.' He looked out the window, where Rhonda
stood in a clearing before the main hall. 'I knew that she would return
one day - and I promised myself that when it happened I would not
interfere, that I would let the Great Bear to draw her to him in his
own way.' He turned back to Grimm, looking at his injured arm. 'I am
sorry for the pains you have both suffered. But as it stands, no lasting
harm was done - and much has been gained I think.'
looked keenly at him. 'You knew Rhonda was a 'chosen one'. Chosen for
what? What else are you hiding from us?'
shook his head. 'You want specifics of future events when only generalities
are sure. When the horizon becomes dark on a clear day, you know that
a storm is coming, but cannot tell its precise strength or its exact
eyes narrowed. 'You're saying - a storm is coming?'
face remained impassive. 'I can only say - there is darkness on the
Rhonda looked up as Grimm and Chief Sakituya exited the medical cabin.
Grimm's arm was bandaged and splinted, but he seemed fine, except for
a curious gleam in his eye as he looked at her. Sakituya carried the
earthenware cup of his herbal medicine back towards his cabin, glancing
at them before turning the corner.
done?' she said, hopefully. 'Can we finally blow this popsicle stand?'
smiled. 'You don't want to kick back and relax for a while?' he said,
'You aren't any better disposed towards Kwitcherbeliakin?'
gee,' said Rhonda, in a posture of mock contemplation, 'We got saddled
with a jerk who tried to kill us, I had the snot scared out of me by
a giant bear, and we wound up taking the short route down a five hundred
foot cliff. Yeah, I guess I should feel better about this camp after
as cute as Pollyanna, but you don't think like her at all.' said Grimm.
'Upside: we completed the mission, so the payment is ours fair and square;
you clobbered the jerk who tried to kill us, none of us died, and the
giant bear gave you what could only be described as super powers.'
not powers like that,' said Rhonda. 'They aren't on all the time
- they kinda come and go....'
so, you could be our new ace-in-the-hole - even beyond the 'Rhonda Factor'
that Gemini wanted to study. Possible and her crew are gonna be in for
the surprise of their lives the next time we cross paths.'
shrugged. 'Aren't we still just kinda... even-ish?' she said.
'I mean, Ron's still got that Monkey Power dealy-o. I thought you said
you were worried about Kim training Ron on how to use it.'
looked at her, and she saw the familiar smirk that she knew and loved.
'That was before.' he said. 'I've had time to think about it since then.
Ron has had Mystical Monkey Power for years. If Possible was going to
push Ron to use it, she'd have done it already. But she hasn't. That
means, for whatever reason, she doesn't want him to use it. And
that means - it'll be advantage Probable across the board.'
shrugged. 'Not sure how...' she said, feeling nervous. Grimm was actually
Possible is too scared or vain to let Ron use his full strength.' he
said. 'But I'm not afraid of letting you use yours. We'll find a way
to help you tap into it. And when we do, you could be the rising
star of the team.'
moment, Sakituya returned from his cabin and Grimm motioned her to silence.
Together, they went to the storage shed which Grimm unlocked with his
left hand somewhat awkwardly. The bike was there waiting for them and
Grimm tapped a sequence of numbers on a keypad on the dashboard. The
rear trunk opened with a hiss and the computerized female voice sounded
dully in the stuffy air.
cargo hold disengaged - welcome back, Grimm Probable.'
rolled her eyes, wondering why it was that whenever a guy gave a computer
a female voice, they always made it British - as if female computer
geeks were all foreign supermodels or something.
took out the case full of money, laid it on a wooden workbench and opened
it. 'Chances are Maze followed us back and he'll come here after we've
left.' he said, turning to Sakituya. 'Tell him we hope he enjoys his
statue - and not to call us again.' Rhonda stared in surprise
as he took out his communicator. It beeped and Jade popped up on the
screen. 'Jade - do we have a list of clients who are banned?'
just as surprised as Rhonda. 'Banned?' she said. 'You've never
refused a client - the website motto is 'Just pay enough money and
we can do anything.'
that yes or no?'
no.' she said.
one.' he said firmly. 'Put Maze on it. And add a disclaimer to the website
- if you try to kill us, the deal's off.'
'O.... K....' she said, then blipped off the screen.
pushed the case towards Sakituya. 'Our usual SOP is that if a client
is ever dissatisfied, we give the money back. It's never happened before,
and technically we're dissatisfied with him. So feel free
to take as much as you want. Consider it a thank you for the medical
treatment and a penny for your thoughts.'
shook his head, smiling. 'That is most generous, but this money was
made through the sale of artifacts which are precious to our people.
To use it for the enrichment of this camp would be wrong.'
nodded. 'Then it would also be wrong if you didn't use it to
buy the artifacts back.'
raised an eyebrow, pausing in mid-breath. Then he smiled. 'That, I cannot
pushing the bike outside of the cabin into the brighter, fresher air
of the camp. Rhonda looked towards the camp entrance. 'You really think
that two-faced skunk will come back here?' she said.
Sakituya shook his head. 'I doubt that very much. Right now he is defeated
and shamed. You may not know this,' he said, smiling and looking sidelong
at Rhonda, 'But among our people it is considered a great humiliation
to get beat up by a girl.'
smirked as they pushed the bike out of the cabin. 'We're not all that
different...' He unhooked the key to the cabin from his key chain and
tossed it into Sakituya's hand. He paused for a moment, and then with
a smirk, he threw the keys for the bike to him as well.