"Don't worry about me. I was made for this... and walking the runways." Monique replied as she watched from the other end of the corridor.
One of the crew men left the administration cabin and walked down the corridor past her not even seeing her in dark form. She'd blended into the darkness of recess in the corridor intended for drainage. She watched as he walked by and then she made her move. She accelerated down the corridor and towards the adjacent cabin across from the administration. She passed through the solid material of the door and into the cabin beyond which was currently unoccupied. As she materialized on the other side of the door she responded.
"Ok. I'm right across from it. The cabin's empty as you said it would be. Give me the signal and I'm in." Monique indicating her readiness to Heylyn.
Heylyn watched as the door to the administration cabin once again opened and the manager stepped out. He was a tall bald fellow who wore stylish suit though it did look a bit out of style. He sported a stylish monocle as well though it was apparent that he could see clearly with both eyes. He paused for a moment as if he sensed that something was amiss. He looked towards Heylyn who slipped deeper into the shadows. She remained silent until he left proceeding down the corridor towards the bridge of the ship.
"Alright. The tall guy with the monocle just left." Heylyn informed Monique.
"You mean the penguin looking guy?" Monique asked.
"Har har. Very funny. Not quite. He's no Burgess Meredith or Danny Devito. Much too tall. Not nearly as much character." Heylyn replied in jest.
"Sorry boss. That's a tad bit before my time. When I was growing up, George Clooney and Tobey Macguire were the only superheroes on the block." Monique replied.
"I'm not that much older than you. Besides, I would have assumed your role models to be Milla Jovovich or Angelina Jolie knowing your character." Heylyn responded.
"Except they never wore tights and a cape." Monique came back.
"Do we?" Heylyn posed.
"That's a yes on the tights. We aren't going to start wearing capes are we? Anyway I'm going in." Monique's form became a dark and shadowy cloud as she passed through the matter of the steel door and through into the administration cabin.
"I'm in. It's an office with mostly cabinets and a couple of computers. Looks like they've got satellite equipment too. They must be connected to an offshore database through the internet. Are you getting this Alicia?" Monique said through the headset.
"Loud and clear, though that's pretty consistent any time someone talks to you. I'm ready for the data any time you're ready." Alicia replied.
"So who were your heroes when you grew up Alicia?" Monique asked as she jumped onto the keyboard of the first computer attempting to login.
"I didn't watch a lot of television when I was growing up. I did a lot of reading instead. A few Doctors and Astronauts. They were always my interest. When I did finally start seeing movies I guess it would have been Sigorney Weaver maybe. Sarah Michelle Gellar too. I really like Buffy. She was smart and didn't need rescuing all of the time." Alicia responded to Monique's question.
"Alright. I got in with guest credentials. That's enough to open a terminal and elevate my user privileges. Sometimes its nice to be rescued by a hunk. I like it." Monique continued typing as she replied to Alicia.
"Well that's not too hard figure out. After all you went gaga over Derek taking a bullet for you on Treadwater." Alicia retorted.
"Well he is a Security Specialist. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. He works for your boyfriend. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Ok, I've got administrator privileges now. I'm going for their data trunk." Monique reminded Alicia.
"No sign of any trouble from out here. The coast is clear. So do you think that Women sometimes let themselves be rescued so that their fantasy lover can feel good about themselves? A sort of self sacrifice?" Heylyn asked Monique and Alicia.
"Is it really appealing to be with a guy where that's necessary? Are you really being true to yourselves in that case? I mean if I had to break down and be in need rescuing every time my boyfriend needed to feel good about himself, why isn't he just confident in himself especially if he has me? Does that mean that for me to be a Woman I've got to be weak, afraid, unintelligent and in need of rescuing just so he can feel good?" Alicia replied.
"I don't know. Some Women like to be overwhelmed. You know, overwhelmed with charm, personality and sometimes even force in a playful sense. I know I like it every once in a while. I'm running the SQL script right now from the terminal." Monique responded to Alicia's point.
"Maybe its a tug of war. Or tug of peace depending upon your point of view. You're both vying for that in each other. Control. Submission. Sometimes its fun to be on top. Sometimes its fun to have him on top of you. There's no answer really. The coast is still clear." Heylyn replied checking her aft to ensure nobody was coming from the other direction.
"It's different for all of us. I don't think that I could handle an overbearing guy who was all hands or who was about dominating me. Making me submissive. I mean I still have shudders when I think about Torman. I just found the directory. I'm waiting for the output Monique." Alicia said defiantly.
"That's different. He's a creep and an... Anyway he was in uninvited. No consent and he occupied us. Our minds or whatever you want to call it. That's not what Heylyn is talking about. She's talking about with a partner that you love and trust. It can be fun to be on either side of the dominant or submissive side. When a jerk like Torman barges into a person and violates their freewill like that, it's disgusting! We have powers that would enable us to easily rob banks. Hijack armored bank cars..." Monique started.
"...or break easily into protected computer systems..." Heylyn reminded her.
"That too, but this is for the greater good. I mean we're here to rescue these people and anyone else who might have fallen victim in the future. My point is that just because we could do it, doesn't mean that we do it. That was Torman's downfall. He could do it, and so he did it. He had no moral compass. Maybe if the same thing had happened to him he wouldn't have done it to others. The SQL output is ready. The file's called THESECRETDATAWETOOKFROMTHEBADGUYS.TXT" Monique insisted to Heylyn and Alicia.
Alicia chuckled to herself upon seeing Monique's filename.
"I don't think that he was that empathic. Besides, he might have actually liked us struggling against him. Who knows. The whole no means yes thing. Those kind of guys really give me the creeps. There should be a separate justice system just for them. I think that the only Woman who could really give answers about Torman is Valerie. After all she dated him for several years before the Treadwater incident. Alright Monique, I've got the data. I'm parsing it and cross referencing it against what we learned about them in Toronto." Alicia's fingers could be heard typing frantically.
"Monique! Get out of there! Mr. Monocle just showed up again. He's about two minutes away." Heylyn informed Monique.
"Oh crap! The system just froze on me... Wait. I don't want him to find my terminal open. I've gotta do something..." Monique nervously waited for the cursor to return.
"It's alright. Stay calm. Press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+T. At the prompt select the terminal process and click kill. Then press Ok." Alicia instructed her.
"Alright. I just got it. The terminal's closed. Forcing the screen saver..." Monique said pressing keys furiously.
"He's about ten seconds away from the door!" Heylyn said frantically through the headset.
The monocled man arrived at the administration door. He turned the handle and stepped into the room just as Monique transformed herself into a shadowy cloud. She flew under the desk as he stepped behind it and slipped through the door as he sat down in front of the computer. Monique sped down the hall in Heylyn's direction and materialized beside her.
"We did it!" Monique said in victory.
The monocled man pressed a key combination and the login screen was presented. He immediately noticed that something had changed. The last login name was: Guest, an account they did not use. He immediately got on the phone.
"Someone's been in the system. I don't know what they were doing. It might have been one of the crew. I want you to signal a fire on the ship and start rounding up the cattle. We'll keep them in the cargo holds for now. After we're done we'll find out which of the crew men have computer experience and find our hacker. When we do I want them thrown overboard. They are to be dead before they hit the water. Keep it quick and clean." the monocled man said into the phone.
A moment later the ship's klaxon broke the late night silence startling Monique and Heylyn.
"It's starting. They must have found out somehow." Heylyn said retrieving her phone from a belt pouch.
"I'm sorry. I did everything correctly. There's no way they could know!" Monique said worried that she'd been the leak.
"It's alright. You succeeded. We have the data we need and if Alicia finds a link between that data and the shipping points, we'll have enough to give the authorities a leg up on the investigation. You did good. I need your phone. Now!" Heylyn demanded.
"Why? What's up?" Monique asked.
"They're going to take us prisoner. Everyone. This is the cattle round up. They just made their move a bit early after detecting the hack. They'll be collecting phones. Do a factory reset on your phone and wipe out all your data. Just in case they poke around with it. Do it now!" Heylyn said as she began working on hers.
"We could kick their butts! All of them!" Monique said in a fighting spirit.
"If even one of the passengers died, that would be too many. We have to do it this way. We have to protect the people they're kidnapping and figure out a way out before we get to port." Heylyn instructed Monique.
"How are we going to speak to Alicia?" Monique asked her urgently.
"I've got it covered. Alicia? We've just been discovered. We'll be out of contact for about twelve hours. I'll get back to you as soon as possible. Check our GPS location right now and make note of it just in case. We're resetting our phones." Heylyn notified Alicia.
"Alright honey. I'll miss you two. Stay safe." Alicia replied as she checked their location on her GIS system.
As their phones rebooted they stepped out of the shadows and into the corridor in the midst of the round up. Several guards stepped before them armed with guns and directed them towards the cargo hold. Monique reluctantly complied as did Heylyn handing over their phones. Within the hour they were loaded into a group of steel cargo containers.
Heylyn observed the situation using her special senses to see the entirety of the cargo hold around them. There were twelve guards in all though there were at least forty armed crewmen who'd rounded up the passengers. Their firepower was considerable which indicated to her that human trafficking wasn't their only business. The thought unsettled her and she began to question whether every one of the passengers were really just passengers. There could be traffickers amongst them. After all they'd remained undetected for at least thirty years according to Heylyn's calculations. She was a little girl who'd come over to North America with her parents while these scum bags were shipping people and selling them like cattle, some into sex trafficking. She thought to herself how different her life would have been if her and her family had somehow ended up cattle in their ring. She most certainly would not be the Butterfly Dragon.
These thoughts came to mind as she spied a conversation between one of the Japanese captives and a taller man with white hair. It was obvious they'd befriended each other as the Japanese man had administered Reiki to the man's knee. She examined the man carefully with her heightened senses noticing some strange perterbations about his aura.
Most people's aura would fluctuate under her vision and change color according to their mood, their temperature and physical condition. She could tell many things about a person just by examining their aura which showed up perfectly to her heightened senses. His aura remained very steady and well balanced. In fact it was so much so that she suspected that he might be somehow similarly powered as were they. She'd seen his injured knee as plain as day and the Reiki had eased most of the nerve and muscle tension but the rest of his aura was almost unnatural.
"Unnatural? Is not that a subjectivism in this colloquialism and schism?" the familiar voice of Weltherwithsp broke the silence of her thoughts.
She turned to see the Dragon sitting beside her examining the same man. His brow furrowed and his one eye opened up wide while his other scrunched closed.
"Hmmm. I'd say he looks a tad bit more natural than do we all. Is it he who is bizarre or is it the rest? I mean if all are anxious and it's he who's calm, does not that us make strange while he is strong?" Weltherwithsp suggested.
"Can't everyone else see you? Can't they see me talking to you?" Heylyn asked Weltherwithsp.
"Consider this a moment that runs beside the one you were in. It's just our moment. Like looking into a lake and seeing the fish beneath the water. They don't see us but we see them." Weltherwithsp responded.
"Alright. So back to your earlier point. You're saying that he's the norm and we're all just so caught up in our daily lives that our auras are actually highly active?" Heylyn asked the Dragon.
"Its point of view don't you see? If a million were sick and one was healthy, would not that one be the odd?" Weltherwithsp's face nudged up beside hers looking at the white haired man.
"I don't like it when you do that!" Heylyn replied stepping sideways a little.
"And by that what do you mean?" Weltherwithsp slipped back a little looking somewhat amused.
"When you make sense. When you're right all the time..." A reluctant smile was born upon her face.
"I'm afraid that I am as often wrong, just nought for you." Weltherwithsp smiled back at her.
"Oh I'd love to see that day. So you're saying that perhaps I should trust him? I suspect there's an insider amongst the passengers. There's something off about this. I can't put my finger on it. It's intuition." Heylyn explained.
"You'll see the day when I'm wrong and at that time you will only have yourself upon which to rely. In the mean time you should trust who trust as I cannot be the judge of that. I can give you hints but you must make your own choices. This wonderful and bizarre existence of ours is full of many things of which you have no awareness as there are many things which have no awareness of you and your unique abilities and history. Butterfly. I would say that you must be who you are and in doing so, this situation will be resolved and thus will be defined the role of the Butterfly. I must go and let you ponder this but keep in mind you are not alone in here. Make your choices wisely and I will return to help you when you most need it and you most certainly will." Weltherwithsp faded as the last words left it's mouth.
"Wait, don't go!" Heylyn said.
"I'm not going anywhere!" Monique replied.
"Good. At least not until we figure this out. We'll sleep in shifts. You take the first shift and I'll wake you up for your shift. We're going to keep an eye on the guy with the white hair. There's something peculiar about him..." Heylyn said settling herself down comfortably for her shift.
Meanwhile from the other side of the cargo container Jasmer looked back and saw the mysterious Oriental lady observing him.
"You know Pasu, if I didn't know any better I'd say that there was a Dragon looking back at us." Jasmer said.
"Perhaps. She has the look of the ancient ones. She is skilled. Very skilled." Pasu trying not to look directly at her.
"Ancient ones?" Jasmer asked.
"We must wait and see which of the ancient ones she is. Is she the protector or the infernal." Pasu said rhetorically.
"I'm hoping that she's the protector because something gives me the feeling that we should not tangle with her." Jasmer replied to Pasu.
"I agree. Completely." Pasu said lying down on the cold steel floor.
Outside of the cargo containers another Japanese man finished up mopping and bid the guards a good night.
He too would be keeping an eye on the Butterfly.
200 Sherbourne Street Apt 701
Canada M5A 3Z5
Single six years and going. PS: I'm not Eugene. I'm not Chris. I don't work for TCHC.
Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns
Copyright © 2016 Brian Joseph Johns