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Inside Nick motioned for Philip to stay quiet as they passed many men decked out in uniform and thankfully were ignoring the two as they walked by. Then they passed through one more security door laden with a print ID lock, which Nick opened and they entered a hallway devoid of almost all life. Only every now and then did someone pass by, and at least half of them dressed in white lab coats. They turned down several passage ways until finally Nick came to a door with yet another print ID, but he didn't open it right away.
Instead, Nick gazed up at the ceiling until suddenly one of the panel's removed itself and a small slim man agily landed on the floor in front of them, his shoulder length wavy sand blond hair falling in front of his face. He smiled briefly at Nick in greeting.
"You all ready, Jimmy?" Nick asked.
The small man nodded.
Nick glanced up at the hole in the ceiling then back at Jimmy with a wire expression, asking, "are you sure this is going to work?"
Again Jimmy gave him a cunning smile, then he nodded to Philip and with one strong jump caught hold of the ceiling edge, pulling himself up and sealing the gap behind him, virtually disappearing from sight.
"What's he going to do?" Philip asked as Nick opened the door.
"Give us some space to work and talk in private."
The room they entered was small and simple. Nick tossed Philip's pack on the bed and headed towards the door on the right wall. This one needed nothing but a twist of a handle to open and Nick anxiously slipped through. Philip eyed his pack but then followed, giving out a gasp.
The room on the other side was no different from Philip's but laying in the bed was Derek. "What's wrong with him?" Philip demanded as he neared close enough to realize Derek was laying perfectly still, still enough to be in a coma.
Nick didn't answer but took out a cylinder very much like the one Falcon had used on Philip only Nick put this one to Derek's neck and shortly after Derek's shallow breathing turned hard and his eye's fluttered open. Nick pushed Derek gently back down when he jerked to life. "Easy! At least give it a couple of minutes!"
Derek sighed when he realized it was Nick. "Are you all right?" He quickly asked. Nick nodded solemnly, but then Derek noticed Philip standing by them. "Then it's true," he murmured and asked the priest with concern, "are you okay, Philip? They didn't hurt you too bad?"
Philip realized the mark above his eye was still visible, he'd completely forgotten it had been there. Smiling kindly, Philip replied, "Other than being dragged across two countries in handcuffs as a convicted criminal, I'm fine."
Derek raised his eyebrows and Nick looked at him, briefly touching his jaw and sarcastically added, "now isn't that ironic!" Philip just gave Nick a hard gaze in return, his hand still hurt from punching him but as yet he still didn't regret it. Derek pushed himself up and groaned, a headache swarming up with him.
"Where are we? Where's Rachel?" He persisted when Nick tried to get him to lay back down again..
"In the next room," Nick replied giving up and instead helped Derek get to his feet. It only took another couple of minutes for the final effects to where off, by which time they had woken Rachel who'd been in an adjoining room to Derek's.
"Philip!" Rachel exclaimed when she saw him. "What are you doing here?"
"Ask Nick!" He stated testily and began passing the room.
Nick looked up at him from his crouched position, "you're just upset because you were taken from your cozy home in Ireland."
"Nick!" Rachel stated sharply to get his attention and partially in reprimand for what he had just said. "What is he talking about?"
"He's thinks I sold you guys out," Nick gripped.
"Well I don't see your room anywhere around!" Philip spat out, standing still.
Nick stood up to face him. "I have to bunk with the Omega, that can't be helped."
"See! You are a part of them! They even said you've been initiated!"
Nick's eyes flamed. "I have not been initiated into anything!" he practically yelled.
"That's what they said," Philip retaliated, "something about two days with a bug!"
Nick's eyes went wide, he even took a step back and after a second silently moved off to think. Rachel had realized what had happened the moment Philip had said it. "Oh my gosh!" She whispered.
"What is it?" Derek asked sitting down beside her.
"The bug. The so called flu Nick had. It had been planted! Oh, Nick!" Rachel shifted to looked up at him.
Nick stopped his pacing and turned to face them, but he shook his head. "No matter, I'll worry about it later. What we need to concentrate on now is solving the Stone of Brakis."
"Why did you lie to us?" Philip suddenly asked only slightly calmer as he turned his as yet unharnished anger on Derek. "Why didn't you destroy it?"
Derek sighed. "We tried, but it's virtually indestructible."
"Whoa, whoa, what a minute!" Rachel held up her hands and asked with one of her 'don't you dare give me a runabout answer' looks, "what IS the Stone of Brakis?"
"The Stone of Brakis was something an evil man by the name of George Brakis found a few years back on a dig in Egypt, and somehow he unleashed the stone's power, thinking to take it for his own. The Legacy intervened and killed Brakis before the transition could be completed, but we never figured out exactly what he had done or even where he had found the stone, it's not Egyptian."
"But it can't be destroyed?"
Nick added grimly, "ya, and then the MI found the other piece."
"Other piece?!" Derek asked equally alarmed as Philip had been when he'd heard. "Nick, why don't you tell us what exactly is going on."
"Right. Well, I haven't seen it yet, but the other piece is supposedly indestructible as well, which clued them on that the Luna Foundation still had the stone. They want to try and unleash the power." He held up a hand with their expressions, "just hear me out. They weren't the ones who brought us in. Omega sent Falcon's team in to oversee the operation and make sure nothing goes wrong. She brought us in to help her find a way to destroy it, but MI doesn't know this yet. And yes, her team knows about the Legacy."
"I wonder who told them," Philip mumbled, he had returned to his slow pacing.
Nick glared at him hard, "I didn't tell her, she already knew! And they're not going to tell anyone, not even Omega command as long as we don't reveal our knowledge of the Omega team." He had turned to Derek to make that last point.
Thinking about it for a moment Derek asked, "do you trust Falcon?"
Nick didn't turn away, but he did sigh and replied, "if there's one thing I've learned it's that the only thing you can trust around Falcon, are your own instincts."
Derek just eyed him steadily, thinking Nick's answer through but finally consented.
There was a sudden beep and Rachel noticed Nick wore a button pad just like Falcon's at his waist now. He stood up. "I have to go, but I'll be back soon." Nick didn't wait for Derek's permission but moved towards another security locked entrance way and thumbed it open, leaving them with only a glance back.
Derek stood up stretching, he was stiff to the bone from the induced sleep. He watched Philip's pacing increase in intensity with a worried expression. Rachel mirrored Derek and spoke up, "Philip, why don't you relax and sit down or something?"
Philip turned on them. "How can you let him get away with this. I don't see anything to be calm about, or did you not notice that they packed some things for you too? They went into your home and took things with out your permission. What about Alex? She probably never even knew they'd been there, or Kat?"
Derek watched Rachel's eyes suddenly harden with pain. "That's enough," Derek barked at Philip, stopping him in his tracks, but involuntarily he did look to the other end of the room, and yes, there sat a familiar duffel bag. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, and placing a hand on Rachel's shoulder, he told the still fuming priest, "Philip. Face it! These thing were out of everybody's control, including Nick's. Things could have turned out a lot worse, okay?"
Philip's lips pursed together but he didn't say anything. He moved back through the adjoining door letting it close shut behind him.
Rachel sighed with worryment and Derek saw her body sag. Giving her a comforting smile, he reassured, "I'm sure Kat's fine. Besides, Emily's with her. And Alex can take care of anything that might come up."
Rachel attempted a smile. "I know."
Nick entered the room Jordan had picked out for her office. He'd caught a glimpse of the other piece of the stone next door, but decided to keep his comments to himself on that one until the others saw it. The door sliding shut behind him, Nick nodded briefly to Kim who sat comfortably in one of the stray chairs floating about. He was just sitting there as if thinking, so Nick presumed he and Falcon had previously been engaged in conversation before he came in. That slight hint of suspicion rising yet another notch, Nick looked to Falcon who practically ignored him as she typed at the computer in front of her.
"You beeped?" Nick coldly asked resisting the urge to grind his teeth.
Kim raised his eyebrows but Falcon merely gave Nick the briefest of looks. "Yes. Frank's done if you want to bring the rest down now." She never stopped her work, nor when she noticed Nick hadn't moved yet. "Something's bothering you," Jordan murmured, "what is it?"
Nick jumped right in. "I've been hearing something about me being initiated. That the reason I was brought in wasn't because I had caught the flu, but because it had been given to me!"
This time Jordan's hands did stop typing and she turned her gaze upon Kim.
Squirming under that gaze Kim quickly stood up. "I think I'll go see what Jimmy's up to."
"Yes, I think you should," Falcon hissed between clenched teeth watching him leave.
The moment the door closed again, Nick demanded, "what's going on, Jordan?!"
Jordan moved faster than lightning. Nick knew it was coming but strangely made no move to block her and she swept out of her chair ramming him into the wall.
With one hand almost in his throat Falcon said with dark intensity, "don't ever call me Jordan! And if I were you, Nick!" she spat his name at him, "I'd be more concerned about you and your friends, and getting out of here with your lives!" She released him then, taking a step back, once again her usual calm. "Bring them down. The sooner we get this figured out, the sooner we call all leave this place." She turned from him then, sitting back down at her terminal, her fingers working away.
Nick stood there for a moment, glaring at her back, trying to figure her out. Shaking his head, he left.
An unseen hand turned off an unseen screen in an unseen room.
The second piece of the Stone of Brakis was much more than anyone ever expected. The stone itself was in the shape of a rectangular box about a foot long with a jagged end and had strange writing carved all over it. The second piece was almost identical in shape, about as high as it was wide, only both ends were jagged and the entire piece was about twenty times the size of the first one, exactly 9.5' long. The intricate writing along the smooth sides were of similar design to the first, but much, much more extensive.
"I've established an inner electrical field that will go on with the press of this bottom here," Frank stated to the entire group.
Derek looked up from where he was examining the piece, running his hands over it noticing the smooth polished feel it had, and a sort of tingling feel unreasoned for. He looked around, noticing the outline embedded into the floor where the barrier would be. "What if someone is inside?"
"Don't be," Falcon told him bluntly. Derek merely looked at her and went back to his studying.
Frank continued on. "I also installed them on the vents. And aside from that the doors and walls are two feet thick, but I'm afraid, on such short notice that was all I could do."
"That should be enough," Nick murmured almost unheard. He was leaning up against one of the walls with a blank face on. Philip eyed Nick, still wondering. Dispite what Derek had told him, he still couldn't bring himself to completely accept Nick's role in all this. Rachel watched the exchange and then walked up to Derek, murmuring, "what do you think?"
"Um?" Derek looked up at her. "It's definitely the same stone. I wonder how Brakis never found this when he found the smaller one?"
"Maybe he did," posed Rachel.
Derek's eyebrows raised at that possibility. He looked to Falcon. "We're going to need access to our computer database."
There was a hesitant laugh from Frank. "Um, well. You system has a very unique thing about it. Not only is the core of it situated only in the island, but there's the slight small problem of a fifty digit code!" He said the last emphasized as he turned and looked at Nick.
"I'm not giving it," Nick told him in a very unemotional tone of voice.
"Fine, but it'll take me months to break a code that long."
"There's always the fax machine and Alex," he suggested simply.
Frank threw his hands up in the air in defeat. "What ever makes your life easier!"
Falcon looked from Nick to Frank to Derek. Derek nodded, "That will be fine."
It was a full hour later before they actually got started on the work, but that was highly due to Rachel's intervention. "You will check on Kat and Emily for me won't you?" Rachel worriedly asked Alex over the line.
"Actually I've invited them over to the house for the next few days." Alex told her. "Here, hold on a second."
Falcon sighed, but Rachel just ignored her and eagerly awaited her daughter's voice.
Rachel's involuntary smile of relief covered her whole face. "Katherine."
"Are you coming home soon?" Her plaintive question brought a tear to Rachel's eye.
"Not for a few days sweet heart. Don't worry, it's just business. But until I get back you mind what Emily and Alex say, do you hear?" Rachel told her sternly.
"Okay." Then Alex came back on and they discussed the impending situation in great detail. They got to work immediately, bringing up everything on George Brakis and all that had occurred in that situation, hunting for something, anything. Rachel had kept herself busy taking photos of the items to fax to Alex making sure she didn't miss a single symbol. Derek, dispite his lack of computer will, had taken control of the relaying process while Philip with Frank's help, brought up ancient forms of writing starting with ancient Hebrew and Egyptian.
"I thought it wasn't Egyptian," Nick commented over Philip's shoulder.
Philip looked up at him, a flash of something undetermined crossing his face, but he answered in a normal studious voice. "They're not. It's clearly nothing I've ever seen before but since it was found in Egypt than maybe there are some traces of parts of the signs in the symbols the Egyptians used." Nick gazed at the screen not willing to meet Philip's eyes. Philip also returned his gaze towards the screen and proceeded on.
After the Legacy had gotten started, most of the Omega team left, only visiting for errands and short periods of time. All except Nick, and Falcon who spent most of her time in the adjoining office. The one day turned into many and at the end of the fourth they all sat around exhausted and not much further than when they had begun
"So you're saying this is an extraterrestrial object that probably effected the Egyptian culture? What, like in Stargate?" Rachel asked incredulously.
"No," Philip asserted. "Nothing like that. I'm saying it's not from this world but I never said it started the Egyptian culture. In fact there's almost no similarities between either of them at all. My guess is that it just popped out of nowhere and no one had a clue what it was so they buried it!"
Rachel sighed, the stress had been growing all day. She looked to Derek, but he'd been staying completely out of the conversation, probably hadn't even heard a word they had said with that deep expression on his face. Absently she followed his gaze to where Nick had stretched out on his back across the top of the Second Piece leaving his feet to dangle over the edge.
Just then Nick let out a yelp and bounded from the top to stair at the stone from a safe distance and exclaimed, "it jumped at me!"
Philip gave Nick a droll look. "Nick, it's a rock!" He looked back at Philip feeling sheepish but still hesitantly put his hand on the rock. A minute later he removed it and said embarrassed, "I think I dozed off."
Still looking preoccupied, Derek hadn't been startled by Nick's sudden burst, he got up and walking over to the Second Piece laid his head down with his ear to the surface as if listening for something.
Nick watched him worried and asked, "what are you doing?"
Derek lifted his head to gaze at Nick calmly. "If it can jump at you, than why shouldn't it talk to me?" He replied calmly before lowering his head once more.
"But like what Philip said, it's a rock!" Derek ignored him.
Rachel's head sank into her hands. "Why don't we get some sleep. I'm sure we'll all have a better prospective on this in the morning."
"I agree," Falcon stated with an accompanying yawn as she walked out of her office.
Derek looked up and sighing moved back, but patted the rock good-bye before leaving.
When he thought no one was looking Nick followed suit adding in a low voice, "don't worry little guy, we'll take good care of you."
Only when the room was silent and the day lights turned off to be replaced by the ultraviolet night lights, did the two pieces begin to vibrate as if communicating and if one looked closely, the writing forever etched into their sides glowed a soft incandescent light.
Philip sat in his room starring at the closed bible in his hands. It was the one he read almost every night, worn with age and love. Sighing, he placed the book down. He would not be reading it's sacred words this night, nor had he any of the nights that they'd been here. Philip felt a pang of guilt but his mind was set, and truth be it, he really didn't want to let go of the anger he felt.
Just then there was a knock at the door, Philip didn't bother to answer, but it open anyway. That was defiantly one thing he would never get used to, there was absolutely no place where you could get any privacy around here! Derek's head popped in. "I thought you'd be in here," he commented lightly.
"Where else would I be?" Philip growled out.
Derek wasn't offended in the least by Philip's attitude but instead replied, "well there's always Rachel's room but I never really thought, well then again..." He left it dangling with a small smile.
Philip couldn't stop the imagined thought and involuntarily smiled. "All right, you have me."
Derek came fully into the room and closed the door behind him. "It's late, you should get some sleep."
"So should you," Philip countered and made room on the bed for Derek to sit down across from him. "What's troubling you?" The priest asked sensing something was on the precept's mind, more then could be expected anyway.
"It's Nick," Derek immediately responded and Philip sifted positions, inwardly groaning but he hid it best he could, for Derek's sake. "He's been acting real moody ever since you came by for that visit a week and a half ago."
"Visit?" Philip asked sardonically.
Shrugging Derek turned to look at him intently, "I know you've been through a lot lately, Philip, but if you would just talk to him I think it would help you both." He stood up then and walked back to the door, but before he left he turned back and said one more thing. "They're dead and buried, at peace now. Let go of the past Philip. Don't let what really counts slip away because of the anger you feel at your own guilt." The door silently slid shut with the end of his words trailing behind.
To Philip it sounded like the iron clad gates of Heaven closing just out of reach. Pale and ashened faced he starred long and hard at that door, but his eyes strayed to the other door in his room, the one with a lock and key pad that he could not use. The one that trapped him in, and his mind could only think of the one person who could let him out, but wouldn't. For yet another night his heart and soul raged, but at who he was unsure. At long last he spotted the precious book at his side, and for the first time in many days he picked it up and turned the delicate pages to read the hallowed words.
Alex sighed, shifting through the photo's once again, but nothing new would pop out at her. It just looked like an ordinary stone with nonsense markings on it. She was about to get up to make another pot of coffee when the vid-phone rang. This time Alex groaned.
Sloan's face appeared on the screen. When he saw that it was just her, yet again, his face scrunched up in puzzlement. "You're going to tell me you're the only one there again, aren't you?" He questioned.
"Can I help it if you call at the most unruly times of the day!" Alex retorted, wishing he'd just go away so she could go and get some sleep.
Sloan's eyebrows shot up, "Unruly?" He drawled the words out as if tasting it, then stated, "It's eight o'clock in the morning!"
Alex sighed, exhausted, "Already?" She shook her head to clear it, "Well, as I told you yesterday, Derek went to visit his sister, and he wasn't supposed to get back until tomorrow anyway."
"And Mr. Boyle?" Sloan asked searching for any reason other than coincidence.
"He's on assignment, the same of which I've been..." a hard yawn interrupted her words which she only half covered, and continued on, "working on all night, so if you want a report I'll send it to you later, but right now I've got to get some sleep!" With only the inklings of words about to proceed from his mouth, Alex cut him off, closing down the transmission. Thankfully, he didn't call back.
Putting all other thoughts about what would happen if Sloan ever found out she'd been lying to him, Alex left, crawling thankfully up to bed, but sleep didn't come as quickly as she had hoped. For even though she was just going to bed, Kat was just waking up. Alex groaned, wishing this was all over.
The day hadn't relieved much of the stress, but Nick seemed bound and determined to get a sample. He had perched himself on top of the Second Piece with a sledge hammer. Then with one powerful swing he slammed it down onto the Piece's edge. A hollow ringing filled the entire bay and Nick was once again on the ground with wide open eyes. "Now I know I wasn't the only one who heard that!"
"Sounded hollow to me," Kim commented as he came in and walked over to Falcon handing her a folder. Everybody watched the exchange but Falcon and Kim ignored them and then Kim left once again giving them only the slightest of attention.
Nick made a face and would have approached Falcon but Derek stopped him, changing the subject back. "If it is hollow, then we need to find out what's inside."
Nick looked at Derek reading the message 'leave it alone' clearly displayed on his face, and sighed. He was getting tired at being ignored by Falcon and her team, and Philip wasn't helping much on this end with his cold shoulder act!
Derek continued on trying to sidetrack Nick, noting the man's increasing distraught with intent concern. "Do you think a part of it came off? All we need is a pebble, or even a dust fragment!"
Nick snapped out of his melancholy with one look at Derek's droll expression and returned it with a half smile. They went in search of a fragment that might have come off with the hit. Yet the object remained perfectly intact, even after three more attempts.
It was on the third ring that Derek noticed the smaller stone was acting up as well. He raised a hand, "Nick, wait."
Rachel looked up from the terminal she was sharing with Philip and questioned, "what is it, Derek?" Philip turned as was, he'd been quiet all morning and Derek immediately perceived the priest's troubled disposition, almost smiling.
Derek knew he now had everyone's attention, even Falcon's who had been reading the files Kim had brought her. "Watch the stone," he told them, then motioned to Nick, "Hit the Second Piece again."
Shrugging, Nick swung wide and hard, letting the large hammer careen down on it's stubborn object of interest. He turned to see the first Stone vibrate in response to the larger's hollow ring.
"Maybe that's it," Derek said to the group. "If we find the frequency of the stone it will shatter." They all looked around, a little amazed at the idea, but with their lack of success, no one would dispute the idea without at least one trial.
Falcon immediately sent for Frank who put together a contraption that would emit frequencies from a very vast range of settings. He gave it to Nick, who, walking up to stand just outside the barrier set it for the highest setting possible that Frank had said wouldn't kill the human holding it. Nick only hoped he was right.
Derek stood back with his arms crossed over his chest to watch. His eyes blurred and in less than a second a sight of an energy wave hitting the entire room with it's unleashed power flashed before his eyes. "Nick!" Derek yelled out the moment he could, even as the doors slid open and Brandis raced in unnerved, but it was too late.
Nick heard no actual sound after he'd pressed the button, but his head immediately began to swarm with pain. He turned it off once he heard Derek cry out. Yet even in that brief second a deep crack had formed itself down the middle of the Second Piece and the stone itself was thumming with vibrations. With a loud crack Nick watched transfixed as the rock began to split open. He barely registered the secure hand that took a hold of his shirt and pulled him back. His head still fogged, Nick didn't much register anything, not even that he'd let go of the frequency transmitter, but he clearly heard Falcon as she roared right by his ear, "everybody out!"
Brandis reacted with a drilled in response and grabbed Rachel with one hand and Philip with his other and pulled them on out the door even before Falcon had finish her order.
Derek had a second longer as he saw Falcon head for the door with Nick in tow and punched the button that would activate the force field and high tailed it out of there. Yet he couldn't help but look back for just a glimpse, seeing nothing but blinding white light boiling out from the center where the Second piece used to sit. He barely made it out before the thick stainless steel doors slammed shut.
In the light's wake lay a pile of fine thin dust that glistened and with a brush of the slightest wind dissipated, leaving almost no trace of the Second Piece. An object created by and as much still a part of that awesome light moved back and forth as if stretching from a containment that had lasted an eternity. Then with slow, determined actions the thing gave what could only be called a growl and leaped through the force field containment as if it was nothing at all.
Derek leaned against the doors, doing what just about everybody else was doing, getting their barring. Jordan was the only one who seemed complacent with everything. She turned to Brandis and asked as if it was only another part of the day, "What's going on Brandis?"
Brandis' face was grin, "I'm afraid our dear General Brown has ordered an evacuation of the facility but forgot to mention it to us!"
Nick thought the sudden look Falcon had on her face right now could light a match if he but held one up, and grinning slightly shook his head one more time to clear any of the residual noise. It didn't help as the door's right behind Derek banged with a loud hard ring.
Derek jumped away and everybody inadvertently backed up starring at the door that now contained a large round dent in the middle. It was soon followed by yet another loud bang as if something had slammed up against the door, but at the same time it still gave out an iree ring to match. "I guess that force field didn't work after all," Derek commented dryly. As if in answer, a ferocious loud roar came from the other side.
"Come on!" Falcon stated as she punched some buttons on her key pad and headed off down the hall at a run. The rest were sure to follow. After they had passed down several hallways and could no longer hear the sounds of the beast behind them, they came to the first of the inner security doors. And to their demise nothing that Jordan did worked to open it.
"Damn! That bastard changed the codes!" Falcon stated completely infuriated. She had an idea something had to be up when Brandis had given her the news...there's no way he would have done that endless he knew what would happen, and it was too much of a coincidence to satisfy her mind. "I hate the damn military!" Falcon belatedly cursed.
Nick eyed the hallways, they hadn't encountered a single other person in their flight, but now the familiar dark face of General Brown stepped out from a near by doorway. "Having troubles?" He asked airily.
The group spun around to face him but before Falcon had a chance to reply Derek suddenly hissed out, "Brakis!" The general's smile deepened.
"I don't know how you..."
Brakis cut him off with a snide laugh. "You don't actually think those tricks would work on me, do you? The Legacy can't kill me!" He gave another sinister laugh as he suddenly faded into nothing.
Nick spotted the miniature devise Brakis had used and picking it up handed it to Derek. "Holographic projector."
Derek took it, gripping it tightly in his fist, then in one motion smashed it on the ground. His actions of vengeance startled everyone but Falcon who seemingly wasn't startled by anything, and Nick who had seen the look in Derek's eyes just before. "What's up?" he asked the tense precept.
Sighing and forcing himself to relax, Derek replied steadily, "Brakis and I were former colleagues, friends. When he found the Stone it's sense of power corrupted him and it had been me who had been forced by necessity to destroy him, or so I had thought I had." He stopped there, enough said and the pain of how sensitive it still was clearly still evident on his face. Nick nodded reassuringly at Derek. Derek smiled with the irony of that comforting intonation and looked to Falcon, doing something he never thought he'd ever do endless forced.
There was no sign of movement in her facial expressions but she adverdently acknowledged his trust and willing relinquish of command. In a crisp voice Falcon immediately stated, "Frank and Jimmy's on their way to work at the locks. I don't know what type of technology Brakis has attached but I'm sure they can break it...We just need to give them time. Rachel you stay here and wait for them, the rest, come on, we've got to draw this thing away, and find Brakis," she added looking at Derek.
"What makes you think Brakis is still in here?" Philip questioned as they started off again back down the hall.
"He's a glory hound, he has to see the end," Jordan bluntly told him, then her head jerked forward as she caught sight of movement. The rest of the Omega team came around the corner carrying some equipment in their hands. "Burton, Frank, and Jimmy, go get that door open. Kim, you're with us, we've got to draw this thing away." The group separated.
When they came to an intersection far enough away from the rest, Falcon called a hault. "Okay, we're going to split up into pairs. Our goal is to delay, don't take this thing directly on if you can avoid it, we just need to it off for a bit." Then she picked the teams, "Nick, you and Philip head that way."
Derek looked at Falcon slightly alarmed while Brandis and Kim exchanged surprised glances, but Falcon ignored them. Nick saw the exchange and inwardly groaned. Philip was completely ignorant of anything as his thoughts delved inward.
Falcon pointed strait in front of her, saying, "Brandis, Kim." and then finished with, "Derek and I will head left." She moved off quickly, leaving no room for questions. Derek was forced to follow in order to keep up but would have liked to have given a cautionary word to his men.
A grin itched its way on Brandis' face as he looked from Kim to the other two. Finally he couldn't hold it in a gave then a full blown smile. "Have fun out there. And Nick, watch out. It may come unexpectantly but that fist is hard and true to the core!" Then he and Kim disappeared. Nick glared at the man's receding back.
"What was that supposed to mean?" Philip suddenly demanded as he came out of his trance.
Mumbling, "got me," Nick shrugged and began walking off down the dark hall. Philip caught up and walked in perfect step with Nick, which irritated him even the more. Nick changed the pace and switched legs, but that didn't phase Philip. Briefly Nick wondered if Philip was doing it on purpose but with one glance knew the priest probably wasn't even aware of them walking at all, his eyes had that distant look that he gets when something was eating at him. Nick groaned again.
The golden silence didn't last long. "Nick, how is it, that you can go along with these people?" Philip asked in a mild voice.
Nick replied bluntly as he checked around a corner, "they had Derek and Rachel, I wasn't about to leave them."
"Oh, come one Nick!" Philip burst out. "You act like one of them. I think that's going beyond the role."
Nick refused to rise to anger with Philip. "I was initiated in, that makes it my responsibility. I have to play it out."
Philip shook his head and mumbled, "I just can't believe you would leave the Legacy over an old flame!"
Nick stopped in his tracks and spun around to glare at Philip. "How can you talk! You're the one who's left twice!" He turned back away from Philip, his muscles tensing as he walked. "And I haven't left the Legacy!" Finally, he couldn't hold it in any longer, angrily turning to face Philip. "You know, you come and you go, and you vanish for months on end. Then when you finally appear it's for all of two days and the entire time I'm not even me!" Nick knew he was beginning to sound hysterical as everything just seemed to be suddenly adding up, but he couldn't stop. "I'm sorry you got caught up in all this, but I really didn't have anything to do with it. I spent two days hanging from a ceiling with nothing to do but count the dots and think about, life! And well..." He was getting frustrated now, not sure at all how to express himself, "ah! Nevermind!" He turned, walking back down the hall feeling really stupid. He wasn't used to showing emotions like that.
Philip caught up with Nick and asked softly, "Falcon once meant something to you, didn't she?" His words weren't unkind.
Nick sighed one final time, deciding to just let it all go. "Yes. Jordan and I got together at the end of our academy years. Then one day she just up and disappeared, no good-bye, nothing! A couple days later they told us she had been in an accident. I went to her funeral, gave a speech and everything. I even presented the flag to her mother. Philip, I thought she was dead!" He met Philip's eyes and saw a softness there he hadn't seen from the priest for quite some time.
Philip regarded Nick, his mind in thought again but this time it was more on his own humility. Finally he said, completely sincere, "I'm sorry Nick. I haven't exactly been very..." He searched for the word but the sound of three gunshots interrupted him.
Derek and Falcon turned simultaneously as the echoes of the shots rang down through the halls. "Nick?" Derek immediately questioned out of habit of associating guns to the ex-seal.
Yet Falcon shook her head, "No, that's Kim's. They must have run into the, thing," Falcon replied for lack of a better word. "Come on!" They headed off down the hall and heard yet another two shots ring out as they neared the room. When they arrived, Brandis was unconscious with a broken leg and Kim was braced up against the far wall shooting for all he was worth at the creature, but the bullets went right through as if they had encountered nothing air.
The creature was a mixture of pure white energy and something unexplainably more than that. It growled out menacingly as it towered over Kim. Jordan pulled out her own gun and fired, having equally no effect but it got the beast's attention. Yet, oddly, the creature merely hissed and bounded away, shimmering right through the wall itself.
"It's a good thing you came when you did or I would have been toast!" Derek half heard Kim say, but his eyes had caught a hold of movement and with out even a moment's thought, dashed after that movement.
"Take Brandis back!" Jordan quickly barked and chased after Derek.
Kim scrunched up his face and woke his unconscious friend, greeting him with a wide grin. "Welcome back to the land of the living, confused and wonderful world of pain!"
Grimacing, Brandis just grumbled, "right. Help me up would you?"
"Jeeper's Brandis! When was the last time you were on a diet?" Kim complain in a joking fashion. Brandis just grunted again.
Derek knew Falconer was following but he didn't wait, he kept his eyes on the movement continuously just one step ahead of him. Then, all at once, Derek found that he had caught up with Brakis and screamed out his name as he tackled the larger man to the ground. He felt Brakis claw at his face as they rolled and finally the two separated, rising back to their feet a short distance away.
"Derek!" Brakis hissed out with pure venom.
Derek's expression was equally angered, but he tried one more time, he had to. "George, you can still turn back."
Brakis laughed insanely. "Come on, Derek! You know you would like nothing more than to put your hands around my throat and squeeze the breath out of me, again!" Derek's face darkened, troubled but set. "Besides," Brakis continued lightly, "I like the feel of evil. It's so exthrilerating!" Grinning, Brakis lunged at Derek.
"Are you sure this is the right way?"
"Um, no," Nick said as he cautiously peered around another corner.
This was the second time Philip had asked the question and had gotten the same answer, only this time Nick actually sounded unsure of himself so Philip refrained from anymore sarcastic remarks. A slight buzzing sound in the air caught his attention. "Nick," he whispered, straining to hear the faint noise. "Do you hear that?"
Nick turned around, his eyes going wide and his face paling considerably. Philip's own countenance drained of blood even before he spun to look up at the creature standing directly in front of him.
Derek fought viciously with Brakis, each returning blow for blow. Not one gaining the upper hand but each searching for the point when their opponent would open just long enough, or tire and weaken, but neither were willing to give in.
Then finally Derek managed to sneak a leg up and kick good and hard, throwing Brakis off of him. They were once again on their feet seconds later and were about to engage in their miniature hand to hand war when Falcon walked in with her gun posed. Derek visibly relaxed and sagging from exhaustion wanly looked at Falcon. "It's about time you showed up!" Then he turned back to Brakis. "You are out numbered, you man as well give up!"
A hallow evil laughter filled the whole room. An expression of mirth crossed Brakis' face. "I'm afraid it is you who is out numbered, my dear friend Derek!"
Looking alarmed to Falcon, Derek felt his gut clench up as she swiveled the gun to point it at him. As usual all expression was vacant, but as the sounds of four bullets ricocheted off the walls somewhere in the near distance, she stated simply, "that was Nick's."
Derek felt his heart sink as this disaster would finally be coming to a close. The only good thing was that he wouldn't have to listen to Sloan chew him out for going against Legacy regulations by turning in the Stone in an attempt to save the those of his own house.
The room vibrated with white energy. Nick still held onto his gun dispite it's ineffectiveness. Starring up into the intense all beholding eyes of the creature he took another step back and hit the wall behind him. They had tried running from the creature but Nick had gotten inadvertently trapped in a corner by the thing that was now slowly, menacingly, drawing closer.
"Nick!" Philip cried out from the other side. Strangely, he could see Philip slightly through the creature, as if the beast wasn't entirely whole, and it literally vibrated with energy.
Nick fired out the last of his bullets but they went right through. When that didn't work, Nick resulted in motioning to the creature with his hands, "Shoo! Shoo! Go away! Shoo!" Yet even that wasn't helping any. He thought about trying to dodge around it, and rethought that as it's sheer bulk took up more than half the hallway.
Then with out warning the beast swept out something closer to being called a paw, slamming it into Nick's side and pushing him into the wall as it's claws burned through leather, cloth, and skin. "Aghhh!" Nick cried out and hugged the wall, trying to get back to his feet. He heard Philip cry out again and opened his mouth to yell at the priest to run, but when his vision cleared it was to stair intently into those all too sentient eyes of the creature. Curious, wondering, amazed. Not a sign of the evil only a moment before. The creature bent it's head closer sniffing at Nick. Only then, at the scent of blood did a hunger filled it's eyes and it sat back and roared with tremendous pressure. Nick knew this was the end for him and yelled, "Philip! Get out of here!" trying to fire at the beast again, belatedly remembering he had no more bullets. With something close to a demented war cry, Nick did the only thing that was left, he threw the gun itself. With a sharp off tone clang it hit the wall on the other side having passed right through the creature the same as the bullet's had.
Another yawling sounded forth, but this one wasn't one of hunger, anger, or vengeance, but one of intense pain. With out warning the creature vanished, disappearing through the wall as it ran away.
Philip rushed up to the started Nick. "Are you okay?" He asked trying to take at look at Nick's still smoking side, but Nick wouldn't let him and instead gripped Philip, puling himself back up. His eyes were still wide.
"Nick! Nick!" Philip vainly tried again well trying to hold the man up at the same time. Then Nick sank back against the wall, weak, but laughing all the same. "Nick!"
Sinking his shaking head into one hand, Nick wouldn't stop, which made Philip all the more worried, then finally he looked up and told him, "the gun worked!" The tears were dripping from his eyes from pain, shock, and pure mirth.
"What?!" Philip just starred at him for a minute wondering if Nick was completely gone but then the words sunk in and a smile broached his face. He gave up trying to help Nick and just stood there grinning. "Yes, Nick. The gun finally worked!"
"Come on!" Nick suddenly stated, pushing away from the wall only to teeter unsteadily, but Philip caught him before he could fall. The amusement was gone now as Nick swallowed a gigantic lump in his throat and stumbled forward with Philip's help. "Come on," he repeated, "I have an idea on how we can stop this thing!"
"Just let me know one thing, Brakis. Why did you wait so long, why didn't you use the Stone's power before?" Derek asked insistently.
"Oh, but I did! I just didn't know how to unlock the stone's full intent. Now I have you to thank for that!" He smiled widely, fully thriving in Derek's frustration. "And since I know you're wondering, yes, I knew about the Second Piece, just as I did the third!"
"Third?" But Derek caught sight of the small object hanging from Brakis' neck. It was the exact shape only minimized, with only a single symbol on it's front smooth side.
Brakis' pulled it out even further, noting Derek's scrutinizing looks, and showing it like a trophy. Derek also caught sight of a small movement off to one side, floating in the air and moving eighty miles per hour as it soared into the room. With one swift and precise movement a small but deadly laser beam shot out, cleanly severing the chain. Jumping back in startlement, the piece fell from Brakis' hands, the little flying ball holding it a second later in it's intended arm as it immediately flew to Falcon.
The two men turned to look at her following the stone's trail. She stood straight and tall. Then the bullet's rang out.
Derek stood there, a little shocked and he looked between the dead form of his prior friend and enemy lying on the ground to the unconcerned Falcon.
She put The gun away commenting wryly, "I hate the MI, evil, psychotic, want to destroy the world man, or not!" Then she looked at the small piece of rock now in her hand and walking up to Derek handed it to him. "Now it's your detail." Derek looked back at Brakis, then down at the thrumming rock in his hand. It's lettering glowed with a white intensity. Ichee suddenly beeped above, bringing Derek back. Looking at Falcon, he nodded. Then Falcon did something Derek never expected, she smile, not sarcastically, but a genuine smile, but weather out of habit or need, she added sardonically, "and next time, don't run off like that with out warning!"
Grinning, Derek gripped the rock, and together they left the room, not once looking back. Ichee squeaked eagerly as he trailed above them out the door.
Rachel paced the hallway. She had started at the sound of the gunshots but forced herself to stay there. There was no use her getting lost. So instead she paced. Burton was feeling pretty much the same way. He itched for the fight, but he'd never leave his post.
Frank and Jimmy had the door panel and connected equipment looking like a wire mache, but it was still getting them no where. Then, when they thought they had bypassed all the safeties Brakis had put up, the door beeped and jerked, but it didn't open. Frank looked at it, exasperatedly stating, "What'd he do? Seal it shut with super crazy glue?!!!"
Jimmy shrugged a maybe.
Frank wasn't sure if it was Rachel's continuous pacing, or the sudden movement that made him look up but just then the creature appeared, heading straight for them. Everybody scattered, and it slammed into the door, knocking it right off it's hinges and frying the entire frame. Sparks flew everywhere, not effecting the creature in any way.
"At least it got the door open!" Frank stated, then wished he hadn't. This thing was upset and was going after everything and anything like it was insane. Frank's voice had caught it's attention and it was quick to come after him. The creature bounded straight into the air and with one powerful leap had caught up with the hacker, unconcerned with anything else. Two guns fired, careful not to hit anything else, but like their previous comrades, it had no effect.
Glancing around in terror, Frank tried to dodge the creature knowing he'd never be able to get out of the way fast enough. Then suddenly he felt something slam into his back, but he didn't feel the pain like he had expected. Burton's cry rang out at the creature caught him instead of Frank, his intended target.
Jimmy whistled shrilly from the end of the hallway, catching the creature's immediate attention as if roared and with out thought blindly charged. Yet, just before the creature would have impacted with the slight man, Jimmy jumped up into the ceiling as it rushed by. Thankfully the creature didn't stop, quickly vanishing from sight. Jimmy jumped down again, and he and Rachel joined Frank by Burton's dying form.
Half his body was either charred or seeping blood. His looked up at Frank who hovered above him dripping down tears.
"Why did you have to go and do a stupid thing like trying to save my pathetic little life?" Frank demanded frantically.
Burton forced a grin. "You were never pathetic," he disputed weakly, then with an all ending feeling, died.
"Burton!" Frank cried out. "You can't leave me!!!" But he knew it was too late.
Rachel gently pulled Frank back, softly saying, "he's dead, let him go." Frank didn't resist, his grief was complete. Burton had been his best friend, dispite everything Frank had done, Burton had always stood by him, encouraged him, even in the end. Frank looked back once at Burton's still form before Jimmy covered it, and then at Kim's and Brandis' solemn faces as they came down the hall.
Philip and Nick stole into the abandoned lab room, happy to find that all the safeties had been fried. The door slid open, and in the dim light from the hallway they could clearly see the Second piece as it glowed with it's incandescent life and vibrations.
Helping Nick to a chair, Philip went to examine the piece, running his hands gently over the smooth surface. "There's nothing left of the Stone," Nick suddenly stated, pointing to the empty spot where it had once laid.
"Indeed, there isn't," Philip murmured and then told him, "the Piece is vibrating, like it's alive some how. I..." Nick raised a hand to stop him, listening intently. Philip listened as well and heard a slight sound out in the hall. The silence that followed was deadening. He jumped when the door flew open, but it was Falcon and Derek who walked through, not the creature.
"Nick, what happened?" Derek demanded and rushed forward seeing Nick's injury.
Grumbling, "later," he motioned Derek away, but then noticed Derek was clutching something in his hand and questioned, "What's that?"
Derek opened the hand to reveal to both Nick and Philip the Small piece of rock. "It's the Third Piece. Brakis had it." With the look Derek gave them, neither asked what happened to Brakis, they'd find out later. Nick did look up to Falcon though, Derek following his gaze. She had moved over to see if they could salvage any of the computer work there.
Philip took the Third Piece from Derek interrupting them and examined it closely, just as he had the Second. He suddenly grew very excited, "This symbol on the Third is on the Second piece as well. Who ever trapped the creature was trying to warn us about it. This symbol has got to be the key to it all!"
"Only we don't know what it says," Derek reminded him.
"Well, no. It doesn't really follow any normal patterns as far as I can tell anyway."
"Look," Nick said to get there attention as he shifted positions trying to relieve some on the pain. "If a vibration set it free, then maybe a vibration can lock it up again, or destroy it, or something!"
Philip made a face considering this, but said, troubled, "There's still the problem that there's an infinant amount of frequencies and it could be one a human can't stand or one we don't even have the technology to obtain, anything's possible."
Falcon abruptly appeared at his side with the frequency devise they had first used. She gave him a sly smile, stating, "Then that leaves only trial and error."
Fifteen minutes later they still hadn't gotten the small object to respond to any frequencies. All of a sudden Nick started giggling softly. Worried, Derek felt Nick's sweaty hot forehead and forced him to finally move enough to see the gouge in his side. "He's got a high fever, and there's a lot of blood lost, I think he's going into shock."
The group looked at him solemnly, even Nick calmed down, only a spurt escaping here and there as he told them, "It's like watching musical notes on one of those glowing keyboards!" Derek looked to where Nick was pointing, for the first time noticing that one of the symbols on the Second Piece was glowing. Then Philip turned the sound device off and the florescent illumination disappeared. He raised his eyebrows in surprise.
"Um! He's right." Derek felt a hunch sneak up and took the Third piece hitting it on one of the symbols. An odd sounding ring shot forth, filling the entire room with its music. The roar of the creature followed almost immediately and it appeared careening through the wall and rammed straight into Derek, sending the Third piece flying in one direction and Derek in another.
Philip scrambled for the rock, grabbing it just as he heard Nick's shrill off toned whistle, attracting the creatures attention away from Derek. He was standing off to one side away form the rest trying to draw the creature to him. It worked and the creature rushed forward as Philip ran for the Second piece, furiously hunting for the right symbol.
Nick starred the creature in the eye even as it sailed through the air towards him, time slowing down. His vision suddenly shifted completely as Falcon dove into him, knocking them both out of the creature's path and inadvertently saving his life. It landed and turned to charge again, but then a tone that was softer than a pin dropping but so peculiar it made Nick's mind cringe, filled the room with a literal iridescent glow. The same that the symbols had shone forth. He looked to the Second Piece to see it seething with vibrations and then it too dissolved, the microscopic dust swirling and moving as if alive. It surrounded the raging creature, thrumming, and vibrating in time to the creature's vibrations, then moving impossibly faster until it all just seemed to dissolve in one big flash. The light died completely and the magical dust fell to the ground as ordinary dust, soon disappearing with the slight wind that brushed through the air conditioning.
"Well," Nick gasped, then he looked at Falcon, still on top of him, and smiled. "Thanks!"
Returning the smile, Falcon merely said, "It's nice to see you again, Nick. I wish it could have been longer, but I have to go clean up a mess."
Nick shrugged. "You never change, Falcon."
She smiled slyly as she stood, helping him up. He felt something small sliding into his hand in the process. "Nope! That's what made me so attractive. See you around Hot Shot!" Falcon looked once then to where Philip was helping Derek up. Nick followed her gaze, but when he looked back, she was gone. He grinned again, "and don't you know it!" Looking down at the lock pick in his hand, his grin broadened and he felt strangely whole again, as if something he'd lost long ago had just been found. Nick walked slowly over to the others.
"Where's Falcon?" Philip questioned.
"She had to go."
Derek took the Third piece from Philip's hand and looked at it, thinking back. "This is all that remains. I'll have to tell Sloan about Brakis when we get back."
Nick shot him an indignant look, "you gave your word!"
Derek took it in stride and replied, "I wont tell him about the Omega team, just Brakis." He shrugged, "I'll just have to leave some parts out of the story, besides, I don't know how well Alex's excuse would hold if I didn't give some sort of explanation."
Nick easily excepted this and with one more look around the hollow room stated, "Good then let's get going." he turned to Philip. "Are you going to come back?" Philip looked at him hesitantly, he still had business back in Ireland, and a certain reputation to fix! Seeing Philip's distraught, Nick half smiled and added, "for a cup of coffee?"
Philip grinned, "coffee sounds good!"
Derek looked between them and suppressed his own grin. As one, they left the now for certain empty room.