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Hour of the Wolf
Chapter 3 - Superhero Pete Lattimer & the Return of Myka Bering
Pete was worried. His best friend and partner was hurting. He knew the pain well. It was still present in his heart too. But the knowledge that Kelly was safe and sound somewhere in Pennsylvania, helping bunny rabbits and puppies, brought him at least some peace. It allowed him to move on. Myka was still in the grasps of fresh heartache, unable to make sense of the events that had so shattered her life.
He remembered her question to him that day in the car, asking him about having vibes about HG. He had not told her the whole truth about it. There had been many vibes, and most of them good. Even back in London he had felt mixed vibes. It suddenly hit him that it was when Myka had walked into the room that the weird, icky vibe had changed to something different. He grinned, pleased with himself. He'd felt the vibe between them before they did, or at least before Myka did.
So the question remained, what could he do about it? With a sigh he went looking for the one person who might have an answer.
Pete had made sure that Myka and Claudia were out of the way for at least an hour or so, before he approached Artie. Feeling him out, he realized to his relief that Artie was in a very good mood today.
"Hey Artie, we need to talk," he said.
"About what?" Artie said, suddenly a little on guard.
"Myka," he said with a sigh. "This is eating her up."
Artie frowned. "I thought she had made peace with her guilt over trusting that woman."
Pete sighed. "Artie, open your eyes," he said gently. "It was a lot more than that."
It took Artie a couple of seconds to put two and two together. He gasped. "You mean Myka and Wells?" he said shocked. "I knew she was sly, but " he fumed.
"No Artie. She loved Myka. And Myka still loves her."
Artie gave him a sharp look.
Pete shook his head. "She's not possessed, or under the influence of an artifact, or anything like that, she's just in love. And if you think about it Artie, I think you knew that there was more to their bond than just friendship."
Artie nodded slowly. "I wasn't sure, but I had a hunch," he finally admitted.
"That's why you let Myka talk her down when it really mattered. You knew that she was the only one who could reach HG."
"I've been thinking Artie," Pete continued. "HG was an addition to the bronze sector, not one of its main inhabitants. She wasn't even listed among the main people. Myka said that HG told her that she had asked to be bronzed because she had become a danger. If that's true, if she really was that dangerous, shouldn't she have been in with the rest of the crazy ones?"
Artie thought about it for a moment. As much as it pained him to admit it, Pete was right, it didn't make sense. "I don't know why, but you're right. Something doesn't feel right about it."
"What if McPherson did something to her?"
Artie glared at him, still refusing to file his old partner away as evil.
"Hear me out Artie," Pete begged. "McPherson was so full of sadness and desperation, but it seemed like he was unable to do anything about it. He needed HG. He needed her to carry out his plan. Perhaps even exploit her for his own purpose. What I don't know is how he knew about her. She could for sure not have known about him. He wasn't even born when she was bronzed."
Artie's wheels started turning. "The Archives," he mumbled. "Come," he said and quickly shuffled through the door, assuming that Pete was following.
Pete knew better than to interrupt Artie when he had a hunch. And this time he definitely didn't want to jeopardize anything. He had managed to convince Artie to look, and that was enough for now.
"Take this," Artie said and handed him a large black ledger. It was heavier than it looked and Pete grunted as he carried it. "What's this thing made of?"
"It carries the heavy burden of guilt," Artie explained like everyone would know.
Pete dropped it with a loud bang on the table and stepped away from it. It made him feel very uneasy. "Okay, I'll let you handle it."
Artie pulled a small golden object out of his pocket and rubbed it against the cover of the journal a couple of times.
Pete frowned. "What was that?"
"Florence Nightingales' nurse's watch. It takes away sorrow and pain, and lifts your spirit," he mumbled as he started to flip through the pages. "1900, January July. Here we go," he started to read when he felt Pete lean over him. He waved him away. "A little space please," he huffed. "Go have a cookie, or something."
Pete stuck his hands in his pockets and left, mumbling curses. Artie didn't hear a word, he was so intrigued by what he was reading. Finally he leaned back in his chair and stared out into thin air. HG had been very close to the truth, but there was one major difference. One that someone like McPherson could, and possibly would exploit. Again he cursed that McPherson was dead, that he couldn't ask him. Maybe, he thought. He quickly locked the ledger away and left.
HG Wells stared up at the dark ceiling. Well, she assumed it was there. She couldn't actually see it. The room was pitch black. Still she had no problem navigating around. She had memorized every inch of it. It was exactly 14 feet long and 12 feet wide. The chain rattled as she turned in her bed. That bloody chain, attached to her at all times. She huffed. It had 312 links. Exactly long enough for her to reach the toilet and the sink, but short enough that she couldn't reach the door. Not that she had any interest in leaving anyway. She had nowhere to go. She had betrayed the last people who cared about her. She turned again and sighed. It could be day, it could be night. She had no idea, and frankly she didn't care. Though somewhere in the deepest corner of her mind she knew what time it was. She closed her eyes and pushed her clenched fist into her mouth to prevent herself from crying out. The hour of the wolf. Myka. Sweet, darling Myka. Her sunshine, her light, her savior. Why had it not been enough? Why couldn't she allow herself to be loved?
Pete clicked on the button again and the wheel spun. It was one of his favorite Pogo games, but today it did not seem to hold its usual attraction. He pushed the keyboard awy. He just wasn't in the mood any more.
"Pete," Artie yelled. "Get your ass over here. I found something."
Pete sprinted over. "What?"
"I need you to cover for me for a few days. I'm meeting with the Regents."
"What? Tell me Artie," he begged.
"There's no time. Trust me. You can't tell Myka about it. I don't want her to get her hopes up. Even if they accept the new evidence, they might still choose to keep Wells."
Pete nodded. "But it's good?" he asked hopefully.
"Good enough," he said in confirmation.
"I knew it!"
Artie gave him a look that he completely ignored.
Artie nervously drummed his fingers on the desk. He glanced at his watch again. It was still not quite five o'clock. Suddenly there was a soft knock on the door. He rushed over and opened it. A tall blonde woman was standing there smiling at him.
"Vanessa," he said softly. "Thank you for coming." He stepped aside. "Please come in."
"I came as fast as I could. You said it was urgent. Aren't you feeling well?"
He shook his head and waved his hands reassuringly. "I'm fine," he assured her. She smiled and cocked her head, clearly amused. "I need your help."
"Anytime dear friend," she said and sat down in the chair he offered her.
"I'm sure that you've heard about HG Wells," he said.
"Do you know about her situation? Her past?"
Again she nodded.
He squirmed a little. "I've found some disturbing evidence that points to that she might actually have been a victim, more so than a villain."
Vanessa smiled, intrigued. "How so?"
Artie gritted his teeth. He was certain that she knew a lot more than she was letting on. "Did you know that she probably suffered from severe depression when she was bronzed?"
Again she nodded.
"Do they know?"
"Did you know that she tried to take her own life, shortly before being bronzed?"
This seemed to be news to Vanessa. She gave him a sharp look. "No I did not. How do you know this?"
He pulled out the file he had collected. "It was in the Ledger. It was hard to decipher, but when I finally understood the words, it was so clear."
She read the passage, and then looked up at him. "This is very disturbing indeed."
"There's more," he said quietly. It pained him to have to share the information, but he knew he had to. He handed her the thin black journal he had found in the vault.
"What's this?" she asked curious.
"McPherson's diary. He describes how he planned to debronze HG Wells and convince her to help him with his plan. He describes how he came across her information by accident, while searching for something else. It's very sad," she said with a deep sigh.
She read a couple of pages and then closed it. She put it down on the table between them. "This is extremely disturbing," she said quietly. "I'm very glad that you told me, Artie. This is useful information."
That's when it clicked. He stared at her. "You've been treating her!" he blurted out.
She nodded. Before he could ask she held up her hand. "I can't speak about it. I'm sure that you can understand that."
He nodded. "Just one thing. Is she still alive?"
She smiled. "Yes."
He sighed in relief. It surprised him really that he would be that relieved over that the woman that he until two days ago despised and couldn't care less if she lived or died, was still here with them. "Thank you."
"So what do you plan to do with this?"
"I'm going to challenge the Regents," he said looking her straight in the eye.
"You can't," she said and shook her head. "They will never listen to you."
"Maybe they will listen to us?" he said softly.
Her head snapped up and she gave him a sharp look. He smiled. "Perhaps," she finally admitted. "The time is not right. I need to work with her some more first. And I need your help to do so."
"Anything," he said eagerly.
"I believe that she was very close with one of your agents. Agent Bering I think?"
"Can you get me something of hers? Preferably some clothing that has her scent. I would also like to have a picture of her, and the name of her perfume."
Artie just stared at her. "Perfume? Pictures?" he said slightly bewildered.
She smiled. "I can't explain why. Just trust me, it's important. The sooner I can get it, the better. And the sooner we can possibly take on your quest."
He nodded again. "Consider it done."
She smiled as she got up and walked to the door. "Thank you Artie."
"Can you pass on a greeting to her? Let her know that we're thinking of her?"
She looked down. "I'm not supposed to. We'll see," she said non committal.
"I'll expect to hear from you soon," she said and smiled. "Be well Artie."
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