False in Some Sense

Those Caught Between; Chapter 2

Sunday, February 22, 2009, throughout the day and following week

Chuck awakens to the smell of clove cigarette smoke, and can see a silhouette in the darkened room, illuminated only by the glowing cigarette. As introductions are made, the figure introduces itself as Alpa Chino and tosses Chuck a can of “Booty Sweat.” He turns on the lights by clapping, and reveals himself as a shaggy-headed, vaguely sinister man with definite glam overtones and eyes like a caged lion. He explains to Chuck that he wants him to retrieve a blastula — the ball of cells that exists before the tube-within-a-tube body plan — from the biomedical waste. If he does so, he can remove the brand on Chuck’s chest. Chuck disagrees, and then Alpa offers to give him information; he will answer any question truthfully, but as a toll, he will then offer one piece of information that Chuck will not want to hear. It may be an uncomfortable truth, or it may be a prophecy that will come true. Chuck agrees and asks him what he is doing here. Alpa says he comes from another dimension, and is doing a favor for a friend who might want to resell this thing that he steals. Alpa also says that Chuck will probably never see him again. He then tells Chuck that his parents, who were going to visit to see how he is doing, will not arrive in Terra Lake, because their plane is going to crash. For a moment, Chuck sits, stunned, but recovers when he asks if Alpa will save his parents if he does this task for him. Alpa agrees. Chuck then agrees.

He gives Chuck a set of doctor’s scrubs and puts a sticker — a yellow smiley face with a red smudge on it, just like the Comedian’s badge from Watchmen — onto the machinery. When Chuck is disconnected from the machines, they continue to take his vital signs, as normal. Chuck dresses and hobbles down the hall behind Alpa. The doctors, as they pass, do not seem to acknowledge Alpa.

They finally arrive in the biomedical waste in the basement. Alpa gives Chuck some equipment and sets him to work at picking the lock. Chuck manages to open the door, and Alpa pulls out a large monocle with an iron rim, odd runes, and an emerald lens. He looks through the waste before pulling out a bag, which he then places into his own gym bag that he carries. He and Chuck return to Chuck’s room, Chuck changes back into his hospital gown, and Alpa hooks him back up to the machines. He removes the sticker, crumples it and throws it in the trash, and then he takes his things, turns out the lights, and leaves. Chuck does not return to sleep.

Things are quiet as everyone goes about their business. Chuck is recuperating in the hospital. Agatha is going shopping and running some other errands. Elena goes to work at Claire’s.

Billy Jack visits Chuck in his hospital room — Duke is asked to wait out in the hall — and Katrina and “James” arrive shortly after he does. Chuck notices that Katrina no longer seems odd. Billy Jack explains to the others some of the things that he has encountered while searching for the creatures of the night, while Chuck and Katrina explain a little about the fae things they have encountered. When Chuck indicates that the rest of this conversation might be better at a later time, Billy Jack exchanges information and leaves to go look around the hospital. When left in the room with Katrina — “James” goes to use the bathroom — Chuck then explains to her about Alpa Chino and the fact that he thinks he may have aided in the taking of her baby. Though Katrina is upset and finds the thing rather creepy, she does appreciate the fact that she doesn’t really have to deal with it anymore. Chuck also gives her three things he managed to acquire; the crumpled sticker, the clove cigarette butt, and the can of Booty Sweat. After she and “James” leave, Chuck turns on the news and learns about the situation at the mall.

While at work, a thin, imposing man with a shaved head walks into Claire’s and asks Elena if she is Elena MacKenzie. When she indicates that she is, he explains that he is Jonah’s friend and gives her the fake ID for which she asked. Then he indicates that he has need of her; as the gun comes out and his friends walk into Claire’s, he explains that he needs to get Jonah out of the hospital, and a hostage would be most useful, particularly if that hostage is Terra Lake’s golden girl. The man, Richard Anton Hiller, calls and makes his demands — namely a van, Jonah, and a route to Canada — and after a few back-and-forth calls, the group shifts to the hospital to pick up Jonah.

At the hospital, they encounter Agent Sklar and his partner, who suggests to Elena that she may hear a loud pop. He does not elaborate further. Richard Hiller then takes his group and they start moving Jonah outside. When they get outside, though, there are two loud pops and the guns being held to Elena’s head and her manager’s head are broken by sniper fire. The police descend on the assembled gunmen and the situation is brought to a close.

After being checked out at the hospital, Elena visits Chuck while waiting for her parents, and she manages to briefly explain the situation. Once Katrina and Michael get back to the hotel — first checking on her apartment and then talking to her landlord to see how things are going and if she can still live there — they turn on the news to learn about the situation at the mall and the hospital. Katrina calls Chuck, and he explains what he can. Likewise, he ends up talking to Agatha and explaining what little he can. He also asks if she can bring his laptop by at some point, and explains that Katrina has some samples to give her. She indicates that she might be around the next day.

The next day goes reasonably quietly. Elena gets a phone call from Paul saying that he is following a semi-truck that Lilith claims is carrying her creator This Way Comes along with another Promethean. After asking, he says it appears to be a biotech firm, “Perkona.” Elena tells him that Perkona just bought out Phoenix Chemicals in Terra Lake, so they may be coming back to Terra Lake. The two indicate they will be in touch over the coming week to figure out what to do. Elena then calls Chuck and tells him about it. Chuck then calls Paul again and gets Lilith, who explains that she can sense This Way Comes on board. Additionally, she thinks she probably would not like the other Created passenger, again by sensing him. Again, the two resolve to remain in touch with one another during the week.

When Agatha arrives later that evening, Chuck explains the situation with Perkona and also tells her about Alpa Chino, accidentally revealing Katrina’s miscarriage. Agatha then visits Katrina and Michael to retrieve the samples from Alpa Chino so she can run them in the lab. She finds that the DNA on the cigarette butt is totally anomalous, yielding impossible results. The sticker and energy drink, however, appear normal. She then tells these results to Chuck.

Throughout the week, things are quiet. He speaks to Kenneth Woodward to get the keys to the missile silo, and then Kenneth leaves for California. Chuck’s parents arrive and start staying at his house. Chuck is released on Thursday, and everyone agrees to meet Friday to discuss Billy Jack and to plan what they will do about the truck carrying This Way Comes.

Friday evening arrives and everyone meets at the cabin atop the missile silo, which Chuck codenames “the Lake House.” After everyone is briefed on current events — Alpa Chino, Billy Jack and the attack on Katrina, the miscarriage, the hostage situation, and the situation with Perkona — they decide to call Billy Jack and invite him over.

When Billy Jack arrives, they explain the situation with Paul and Lilith — Lilith is Created, but doesn’t seem to want to hurt anyone. Likewise, they don’t want to hurt anyone; they just want to save This Way Comes as a favor to Lilith, and to learn why Perkona might be transporting people by truck across country. Likewise, what else might they be transporting? Billy Jack feels a little odd about breaking into a truck — being an old trucker himself — but he understands the concern with shipping people or things across country. Elena calls Lilith and learns the truck’s license plate, and then Billy Jack calls some of his contacts and learns that the driver of that shipment is Hank “Bearclaw” Samson. Deciding that trying to talk to Bearclaw about the shipment might alert him and connect Billy Jack’s name to it, they decide that they will probably try to catch him at the next rest stop and peek in his truck.

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