Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 7 part 1.28

Posted by harmony0stars on April 25, 2011

Redfield was waiting for them when they got back. “Boss man’s been called away,” he said with a smile and a shrug. “Said to continue without him.”

“Okay then…” Steiner rubbed his cheek and forehead. They returned to the conference room, Redfield taking up the task of secretary. Unable to check in with Bitman, Steiner fussed over the notes he’d already jotted down before letting his shoulders slump. “So, I, uh, guess we should move on to something else,” he said sheepishly, and Redfield glanced at his partner.

“So what do you know about this Black Stone?” he asked, his voice rough with the uncertainty of changing the subject without the colonel’s say so.

“What do you know about it?” Glory countered.

“I, uh, we haven’t been briefed on it yet,” he said glumly.

Glory tsked with irritation. They’d had almost a week! Was it so hard to switch gears, especially when there was every indication that the revenants were related to the Black Stone? “It’s an artifact, alien if that makes it easier to think of it as dangerous. I’m not sure what kind of stone it is, aside from being black. It was originally in the shape of a bowl, but broke after the ritual which sank Atlantis.”

“Atlantis, right,” Steiner muttered under his breath.

“Look, I didn’t believe in Atlantis either until recently. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an island or continent in the Atlantic that sank. We‘ll call it Atlantis and pretend it had nothing to do with Socrates allegory of the perfect society or Blavatsky’s flights of fancy. Okay?”

Steiner flushed and Redfield smirked, though he kept his mouth shut. “Yeah, sorry. Just not big on fantasy and the supernatural.”

“Buh… you read comic books and… and you basically work in the occult,” she said, confused.

“The occult is just…” He waved his hand dismissively. “And comics are science fiction,” he said with an air of wounded pride. “It’s completely different.”

Redfield snickered at the exchange. “Don’t argue with him on this one,” he mock-whispered to Glory. “He’s a born skeptic. It’s science or nothing.”

“Well, if it’s any consolation, I don’t believe in the supernatural either,” Glory replied and was amused by their mutual surprise. “It’s a misnomer. Nothing which exists can be supernatural or come from outside the natural order. If something truly did not belong, reality would buckle and squash it as a paradox. So everything which exists, no matter how improbable, is still natural.”

Steiner looked dismayed, while his partner nodded. “You were a philosophy major, weren’t you?” Steiner asked in a suddenly snide tone. “My second wife was good at talking in circles too.”

“I never went to college,” she replied, cocking her head to the side. “It would have been nice, but I think it would have been too restrictive.” Bitman had to know that… so hadn’t Steiner read her file?

“Oh, um… “ He shuffled papers as if looking for some reference. Redfield smirked and shook his head slightly.

“Look, you just have to suspend your disbelief long enough to figure things out,” she said. “Even the most unbelievable data must have a logical explanation. It‘s just getting there that takes a bit of work.”

“So, uh, this Black Stone is some kind of… alien technology,” Steiner said as he tried to wrap his mind around it. “Which is powerful enough to sink a continent… if you feed it the right algorithms.”

“I don‘t know about right,” Glory said, “since from what I gather the ritual that sank Atlantis went terribly wrong, but yeah… that’s about the size of it.”

“How many pieces are there?” Steiner asked, finally looking concerned.

“Seven, or there were. A… friend gave me a second piece only a few days ago. I left it with the other I had, and when I came back, they’d joined somehow.” She took her laptop from her bag and set it on the table. After a moment, she turned the computer around to face Steiner and Redfield, images of the stones on the screen. She’d managed to take several of the first piece, though the second series of pictures consisted of the merged pair.

Steiner muttered a curse under his breath and flipped through the file again. He came up with the transcript of their discussion earlier in the week and the symbols the little girl had drawn on the mirrored glass. Offering the page to Redfield, his partner nodded and dutifully sketched the two symbols into his notes. Maybe now that they’d been noted in triplicate, Bitman would get his butt in gear.

“I don’t suppose you’d let our science division examine the stones…?” Steiner asked.

“No offense, but they’re safest where they are.” She passed over a flashdrive from her bag instead. “Nothing can get into my house without an invite, and anything that comes looking for trouble won’t even be able to get to the front door. I‘m afraid you‘re just going to have be content with pictures.”

He grunted as Redfield accepted the flashdrive. “Alright, so this friend,” he put ’friend’ in air quotes, “told you how to find the last piece.”

“Eh, he basically told me where to start looking in Islay.  He’s not a particularly helpful friend; he just owed me.” She fiddled with her computer, bringing up her travel plans, all of it already noted in the files she‘d given them. “I’ve already booked the flight for two days from now and rented a car and nearby farmhouse. You just have to get permission from Bitman or whoever hands out missions or whatever, and we can go get that last piece. Finding Lori and the rest of the Black Stone will be a lot harder.”

“Oh, I like you!” Redfield finally choked out, looking up. “The colonel will be livid.”

“The colonel will say hell-no!” his partner growled.

“Well, that’s up to him then,” Glory said, shrugging one shoulder. “But this is important and obviously related to what you guys have been dealing with. I thought he’d want to be included.”

“But just the three of us?” Steiner complained. “We should have a full squad, but-but there’s no time to get permission from the UK government. No time to get any background on the area. There’s just… there’s no time to even get the paperwork squared away.”

While Glory shook her head in disbelief, Redfield elbowed his partner in the ribs. “Least we won’t be flying coach.” He paused. “We’re not, are we?”

“No, first class.” She smiled.

“First class!” Redfield gasped. “I can’t remember the last time I could wiggle my toes on an airplane, let alone stretch my legs.”

“The colonel will not like this at all,” Steiner said glumly. Glancing to his left at the notes Redfield had so far taken, he started to ask a question, only to be interrupted by his partner.

“Dude, I think we better stop here. I’ll take her home. You take this stuff to the boss. The sooner you notify him, the sooner we get a vacation to sunny Islay… wherever that is.” Steiner shot him an almost offended look.

“It’s in the Hebrides, so maybe sunny, but this time of year, not so warm. Everything is on that flashdrive.” She nodded to the flashdrive in Steiner’s hand. “Everything I know about the Stone and everything I’ve managed to research about Islay and where we’re supposed to go. I’ve taken care of the expenses, so Bitman shouldn’t object to that either.”

to Book 7, part 1, page 29

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2 Responses to “Tattoo Book 7 part 1.28”

  1. here2read said

    I like her take charge attitude.

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