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Chapter 11

Thauma Guard walked wearily down the Chiron Medical Center in Atlas Park still wearing the clothes from the night before. She and Ginger Blaze had plans to go out the previous night until Norman arrived brining a contingent of Longbow with him. Now her attire gave one the impression she was employed by a chimney sweep company and had had a rough night.

Arriving alone at the elevators, she pressed the button for the third floor a bit more exhausted. She and some members of the Onami had spent the last couple of hours going through Brian’s apartment. Voltech ended up kicking her out, promising to take care of Brian’s personal belongings. Thauma had been at his place in Founder’s Falls and his Kings Row apartment was an indication of just how far he really had fallen. The signs seemed so evident with hindsight and she silently blamed herself for letting him hit rock bottom alone.

The elevator dinged on the third floor and opened up. Walking into Sarah Starlings room brought back emotions. Occam’s Razar stood like a sentinel holding Sarah’s hand and his eyes still never lost the passion of the sun. His left arm was in a sling.

“How is she?”

“Unchanged,” Occam responded laying her hand down. “She is still in a coma. No brain activity.” He was worried about Thauma; his outside observations of the Onami Strike Force was telling him they were approaching a turning point. One that could cost more lives if not acted upon. “How are you?”

“Okay,” the tall ebony women said. She curled up on one of the visitor’s chair, unable to fight off fatigue any longer. The events already over twelve hours ago seemed like a distant dream or somebody’s bad writing.

“How are you holding up?”

“I will survive. My friends at Paragon City University are already assisting the hospital staff in preparations to replace my arm. You should go rest, nothing more can be done.”

From the fetal position, she eyed the big guy and sighed. Silently the loss of the others finally caught up to her. She wept years ago for Aaron, but with Brian, Norman, Bow, the feelings she buried for the best of Onami assaulted her. She fought back feeling like she was losing Aaron all over. She could not go through it again.

“Is Brian still alive?” she asked.

Occam thought a second before answering. He had seen the other side when he emerged upon the Envoy. It had not been another dimension that he was expecting. “I am not sure. It is possible, but I will not lie, the Dark Lord will be furious and so will the Envoy. No one person has ever escaped their wrath.”

“You did, once.”

Occam shook his head know to what she referring. “No, I sacrificed my life even then. I find myself blessed to once again able to offer that life for humankind.”

“Why did he do it?” Thauma asked referring to Brian.

“One can only run from their true self for so long. We saw that at the end.”

“There had to be another way.”

“Maybe, Brian had to figure it out himself.” Occam responded. He then realized she was not truly referring to Brian. “Thauma let him go, its okay.”

“What?” she said sitting up from the blue recliner.

“He would not want you to suffer as you do.”

Emotions long buried erupted drowning Thauma. She gasped and her heart raced grasping what the drake meant. Brian’s sacrifice opened an old wound of loss, emptiness, and abandonment. She struggled for breath mouthing Aaron’s name silently. The half-dragon saw the truth even when she did not. She fought back tears refusing to suffer the torment once again.

Occam stepped over to her to offer comfort and she got up and almost fell into his strong thick arms. Humans were so emotional to the drake a trait he shared far too easily with them.

“I can't let him go.  Without him, I feel empty, like there's a hole in my heart.  If I could, I would gladly die too, to be with him again.”

“No my child,” Occam said consoling her. “Face your loss and remember Aaron for his achievements in life, not for his absence in death. Brian would want the same. ”

He held on to her for a few minutes before the door to Sarah’s room opened bringing the hero known as Stateside in.

“Occam, I am glad you’re here,” the dark skinned man said. He wore the red, white, and blue uniform of Homeland Security. Under a new executive order signed by the President of the United States, Homeland Security was authorized to employ what ever means necessary to achieve their objectives. More specifically, they were authorized to deputize metahumans into a National Guard Order in defense of the security of the United States. Paragon City was the perfect place to start such a beta program. Individuals registered became official U.S. federal employees. Stateside was the first to enlist under the executive order and would help lay the foundation for a more formal organization that would follow. His use of the broadsword and advanced prototype body armor was guided by Occam’s Razar’s, by Stateside’s request. Occam even sponsored his petition to Thauma in order to join the Onami Strike Force. He was so dedicated to fighting crime he fought for the government by day, and at night, he fought for the Onami Strike Force.

Thauma broke the comforting grip of Occam and went into the bathroom to compose herself.

“What is the problem?” the drake asked.

“I need to get you out of here,” Stateside responded blankly. “There is a warrant out for your arrest.”

“Why?”

“This morning Crey Industries filed lawsuit against Hero Corps for the falsification of your former membership records, and for theft and destruction of their property, among other charges. Paragon City University and your name also appear alongside the Hero Corps. Your Hero License has been suspended by the City pending the trial. I believe the University will be kicking you off campus, too.”

Occam was stunned. He had wondered if his association with the selfish organization of Hero Corps would come back to haunt him. Apparently, it had. He still had details to plan to return the elf known as Occam’s Bow to her homeland and this only complicated the matter. He would have taken down Crey Industries long ago if it was not for the fact the Countess and her minions partially ran legitimate businesses. They surrounded themselves with the innocent and did so by the thousands. If Crey fell, the innocent employees would suffer too. The challenge of taking on an organization like that was completely foreign to the drake. During his time, the differences between good and evil were more evident. When the dragons needed to wipe out evil, they just acted. Nowadays that was not always the best solution.

*****

The Rogue Isle Protector slipped out one of the hospitals windows before anyone could even respond to the false arrival of News Flash. It was already the evening of the next night. He must have waited in that clearing far longer than he thought. Using the gadgets of Arachnos, he was able to locate Occam’s Razar and listen in on the conversation. When he heard his love, it took a great resolve to stop from rushing down there to proclaim his return from the dead. He dropped behind the hospital hidden by darkness. He had overheard the plans about how to get Occam’s Razar out of the hospital, so he waited like a ghost in the darkness.

A black limousine pulled behind the hospital near the entrance. Thauma and Stateside left first and the latter ran the fifty feet or so to the vehicle to hold the door open for her. Norman watched his true love and wanted to say something, but the words failed him. Occam opened the door to the hospital slightly peering into the darkness toward the limousine.

“Drake,” Norman said from the darkness.

Occam’s brow furrowed his dragon eyes piercing the darkness easily enough. He saw the Protector and hid his surprise, although he had sensed he would meet the man again. He left the hospital and sprinted to the corner of the building in two steps.

“Occam,” Stateside said trying to move the drake along to the vehicle. He could not see whom the drake was speaking to.

The drake waved him off, “Why am I not surprised to see you?”

“What’s it like to be a drake?”

The question smacked the half-dragon squarely in the jaw. He then realized why, “Aaron’s blood is not the only DNA you were mutated with was it?”

The Protector nodded.

Occam knew something like this would come forth again. When Crey cloned him, such methods proved unavoidable. In time he was able to convert his clone to embrace his dragon heritage and serve humanity. He was now in places unknown fighting evil and searching for himself.

“Come with me Norman,” Occam proclaimed offering his right hand. “Claim the true heritage of dragons and help me fight the evil in the world.”

Norman tried not to laugh, but it just blurted out. What a outlandish thing to tell say, Norman thought. “You have got to be insane. It is ludicrous for you to think all drakes fought for humankind. I am sure some even helped the downfall of the dragons that made you the last drake.”

Occam realized he had been premature. He had hoped Norman sought him out because the true path of dragons had opened up to him. This adaptation would take time.

“Very well then,” Occam said turning toward the limousine. “What should I tell Thauma about your return from the dead?”

The Protector was really ticked, his pulse rising to seventy-two. The audacity of that claim just floored him. He truly believed Lord Recluse held they key to a peaceful society. The world was just not ready or willing to make the leap of faith.

“Tell Thauma whatever you want.”

With no more words between the two, he leapt in to the air and into the night sky and the half-human watched him go. Thauma deserved the truth. He would have to watch her closely over the next few weeks. An idea came to him; maybe he could put her on the path of healing after all.

Norman, one of the few Rogue Isle Protectors, had a meeting with Scirocco to attend to anyway.

TO CHAPTER 12 >






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