Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Chapter by R.G. Bennet

Nyrien pulled the map out of her back pocket and studied it carefully before speaking.

   “Okay, so according to the map we’re about a mile and a half from Armsrac.  Baldwin is the only person related to the Organization that lives close enough, which kind of fits in; we can get transport out of him so that we can go meet up with the others.”

   “True,” Rakahn agreed, but he had a slightly timid look on his face.  Cleveius Baldwin scared Rakahn " as in flat out gave him the creeps.  Once, Baldwin had discovered Rakahn’s liking for Tess, the former’s protégé, and had threatened Rakahn in a playfully violent manner:

   “If ya mess with her, Oyl use yer gut fluids as a constituent of moy new ‘elicopter fuel ey?  Ha ha…”

Rakahn suppressed a shudder as he remembered these words, and the winding slap on the back that had accompanied them.

   “Kahn, you all right?”  Nyrien said, snapping Rakahn back to present.

   “Yeah, sure,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders, “Armsrac…mile and a half…let’s go.”

   Baldwin actually lived in Saint Ascen, on the northern outskirts of Armsrac and by the time Nyrien and Rakahn had gotten past the densely populated area into the spacious, tranquil environment of Baldwin’s hometown, it was well after dark.  Nevertheless, they were able to find his house with ease as the entire yard was bathed with the customary fluorescent light that Baldwin so regularly utilized for his nighttime projects.  Nyrien and Rakahn were relieved to see a familiar area after the much-transformed Armsrac, and hastened to the front gate. Baldwin’s garage was five times bigger than his house " sporting various models of customized cars, jeeps, helicopters and a couple of jets parked in the back.  The house was a few paces away, plain and green-painted with a vast backyard that ran into a large enclosure of trees.  Nyrien and Rakahn checked the garage first, expecting to see the familiar sight of the broad-shouldered Australian with sleeves rolled up, tinkling away at the engine of one of his models.  Instead, they neither saw nor heard anything that would suggest anyone was in the vicinity. 

   As they made their way back out of the vast space, Rakahn let out a low whistle. 

      “Okay, we definitely wanna use this one.”

Nyrien turned to see that Rakahn was ogling at a shiny black car with small projections at the back that rather resembled wings.  Peering inside, she could see that the area just beneath the dashboard was littered with numerous buttons and switches " many of them white, others green, red, blue and yellow.  Upon further examination, Nyrien and Rakahn discovered guns beneath the headlights and taillights, and came to the conclusion that the glass was bulletproof.     

   “She can also change colour, accelerate up to 700 miles per hour, and set off a gas that blinds anyone within fifty feet of you.  Her aerial picks up radar and oh…she can operate under water,” came a gruff voice from behind them as they rose from checking the bumper.  Rakahn flinched slightly.  Nyrien beamed and ran towards the man, both arms outstretched.

Baldwin squeezed her in a brief embrace, lifting her petite frame off the floor, and grinned down at her.  

   “Ey lass, I expected you’d be here sooner.  Been about an hour since the flash.”

   “Yeah, but it was insane in Armsrac.  Since when has the place grown so populated?” Nyrien replied after Baldwin set her down.

   “Ah, yes. That’s ever since the whole town of Eptwit caught ablaze and the residents had to move down to Armsrac because it has, or I should say had, a fair bit of space. All the streets are altered too, to accommodate all those houses they erected.  Definitely disrupted the peace n’ quiet there used to be.  Anyway, those Eptwit people are quite the industrials.  Bit of flare for business I should say.  Did you catch sight of Twirlin’ Pete’s?”

Nyrien shook her head.

   Baldwin chuckled. “I have to take yeh there before you go back.  Best ice cream for miles.  I know Raccoon over there took a liking to Estor’s Ice Cream Parlour.”

He glanced over Nyrien’s head at Rakahn, who was many feet away.  Rakahn merely nodded and shifted his gaze back to the black car, a wistful look in his eyes.

   “I see you’ve taken a fancy to my latest work as well.  Ain’t she a beauty?” Baldwin said fondly, walking over to the model.  Nyrien and Rakahn nodded in earnest. 

   “What’s this one called?” Nyrien enquired. 

   “This lovely work of art,” Baldwin gave the hood an affectionate rub, “is known as the Xerich.”

  “Wow…Xerich…almost reminds me of old Candace, except for the wings and the guns,” said Rakahn.

Baldwin let out a boisterous laugh.

   “Love, you’re lookin’ at Candace reborn!”

Nyrien gasped.  “What? But I thought Candace…”

   “Oh yes, Candace is dead. But I took Her basic design and used that for the Xerich’s frame.  Bit of a tribute to old Candace…” Baldwin cut across. 

   Candace was the vehicle that Nyrien and Rakahn, up to a few months ago, had used on the few missions they carried out in the Secret Realm.  It was a truly remarkable vehicle, with the ability to spin 180 degrees in two seconds and launch fifteen feet into the air when necessary.  Things went wrong for Candace, however, when Baldwin had tried to design her to fly.  At first, it was a huge success, and the vehicle could rise to a steady altitude of a few thousand feet.  Then again, that was the first day, and Nyrien and Rakahn had to execute their operation that night.  Needless to say, as Nyrien and Rakahn raced across the sky to make their escape, they discovered that something was terribly wrong with the wiring.  Candace dipped into an irreversibly steep dive, and her inhabitants were forced to abandon the vehicle, parachuting to safety while Candace plummeted to the rocky depths of the Hatven Lake below.  A brief moment elapsed while all three remembered the faithful car that has saved their lives a number of times.  The moment passed.

   “So, are we gonna get to try out the Xerich?” Rakahn overcame his apprehensions about Baldwin with his apt enthusiasm over the vehicle. 

   “Slow down, lad,” Baldwin grinned at Rakahn, “There’ll be plenty of time for that, if all goes well tonight. In the meantime, why don’t you two come inside the house and we’ll talk.”

   They followed Baldwin to a door at the rear of the garage, which opened up into the laundering section of his abode.  As they neared the living room, they heard a familiar voice and were promptly hailed by a tall, slender young woman, her flowing amethyst hair shimmering in the light.  As usual, she was adorned with glittering jewelry dangling around her wrists and around her neck.  She also wore neatly rounded pearls in her ears, completing her elegant look.  At the sight of her, Rakahn nearly swooned, but quickly regained his composure, a wary eye on Baldwin. 

   “Tess!” Nyrien exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”

Tess’ smile quickly faded and she addressed Nyrien with urgency. 

   “Where on earth have you two been? Anyway, it doesn’t matter.  It’s already been decided that you can’t be used again to retrieve the Diamond.  It’s too risky.  Reports are that the people of Darkwater somehow found out that you and Rakahn were involved. Nigel too. Right now things don’t look good. There’s been a bounty on all of your heads for about a week.  They’ve taken this so seriously that they took a sixteen year old kid from Urecras hostage just because they suspected he may have been working with you.  Now that Darkwater has the Diamond once more, things are going to get really bad really fast.”

   Nyrien started to protest at being left out but Baldwin cut ahead of her.

   “I’m afraid Tessy’s right " we can’t afford to send you in.  Right now, we’re looking at Tess, Rapid and Shannon to get this done.  If we move in quickly, there’s a possibility that this might turn out all right.”

   Nyrien looked positively affronted.  “But Baldwin!  You can’t even think of sending in a team without me!  I mean I am directly involved in this.  Rakahn and I almost…wait…who’s Shannon?” she looked up at the robust Australian quizzically. 

   “My baby cousin.  I suppose you should met her…OI! SHANE!” Baldwin yelled over Nyrien and Rakahn’s heads.  There was a distant clanging sound followed by the opening of a door; Nyrien and Rakahn turned to see a sandy-haired, freckly-faced young woman making her way down the corridor.  She looked to be around Tess’s age, with her wavy shoulder-length hair pulled up in a pony tail and a red baseball cap fitted over her head.  It was amazing how strongly, for just a cousin, Shannon resembled Baldwin. With the same twinkling brown eyes, square shoulders and strong chin, she could have easily been his sister. 

   “Oh, is this them?” She asked as she approached the group, her eyes flicking from Baldwin to between Nyrien and Rakahn.

   “Right you are, Shane,” Baldwin grinned, “Might I introduce you to Nyrien Hale and Rakahn Tour?”

   “Pleasure,” Shannon extended her hand, first to Nyrien and then Rakahn.

   “So, Shannon, how come I’ve never seen you in any of our other operations?” Nyrien enquired, with an air of one seizing up new competition.

However, it was Baldwin and not Shannon who replied.

   “Ain’t nothin’ to worry bout, lass.  Shayne’s got her experience, if that’s what’s troubling you.  Youv’e just never met her because she’s been on the other side of the Realm, working for A.P.C.O.”

   “Apco?” Rakahn repeated with a quizzical look.

  “You don’t need to know about that right now,” Shannon replied, “I mean, there’ll be plenty of time to discuss that after we’ve secured the Diamond.”

Nyrien didn’t really mind Shannon, however she was in a raw mood from being told she could not get involved in the retrieval of the Diamond, hence it was with a hint of annoyance that she asked,

   “So where do you fit in, really?  I mean, if you’re involved with another organization all the way across the Realm, I don’t see how F.A.B.L.E. could recruit you, especially on an operation that calls for agents who are familiar with this particular scenario, who know what they’re up against, who have risked their lives to-“

   “Ni,” Tess interrupted, “Shannon comes highly recommended from A.P.C.O., and is a credit to her particular filed of expertise.”

   “Which is what exactly?” Nyrien enquired.

   “Equipment and Intelligence " basically I assemble arms and some parts of vehicles, but I more specialize in extensive programming and analysis as well as coding,” Shannon answered.

   “Remember I told you they know Nigel was involved?” Tess interjected again,          “That put him out of the picture, which means that put us real short technologically.  And we definitely need our computer smarts for this operation.  You wouldn’t believe this, but no one else is near enough qualified as Nigel is.  And we tried a lot of people.  But Baldwin mentioned Shannon and we got all the papers and everything sorted out right away so she could join us on this operation.  We’ve already brought her up to speed and so far she’s hacked into the encrypted files that other organizations have compiled on Darkwater, programmed a communication device in the form of an artificial fingernail, and is now working on programming the guns to fire at vocal demand in addition to physical triggering.”

Nyrien was silent for a moment, obviously impressed.  At least, it seemed, they were well compensated for the temporary loss of Nigel.  However, the fact remained that she was facing exclusion from what she felt was the most high risk operation one could ask for.  Baldwin sensed her unease and put a broad hand on her shoulder. 

   “Your’re one of the best we’ve got, which is why we can’t afford to lose you.  You’ve seen what it was like last time.  And this time, the people of Darkwater know somewhat what they’re up against.  It’s just too dangerous to send you.”

Another moment of silence elapsed.  Rakahn was also concerned about their being excluded, however he was silently agreeing that it would be risking a lot to get involved this time.  Besides, he was also worried about Nyrien as her best friend, and had a terrible sense of foreboding that she might not be as lucky this time as she was in the previous Diamond operation.  The silence was finally broken when Nyrien replied, in a rather subdued manner at first,

   “All right.  I’ll stand out. But I want to know everything.  I want to know where we are, how much we know, how much they know, who we’ve got going, who’s going to be handling what and the details on how we intend to execute.”

   “All right,” Tess sounded relieved, “Let’s go into the living room, shall we?  I’ll tell you all you need to know.”




© 2012 R.G. Bennet



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The first mistake
A band of soldiers finds diplomacy in the dreg forest comes with consequences.

Author's Note

R.G. Bennet
Again with the credibility. Let me know if it sounds cheesy or not, or interesting/disinteresting.

Baldwin is one of my favourite characters (although he won't be featured much in the book), and thoughts on him would be welcome. In fact, thoughts on all the characters thus far would be lovely. What do you think about the way they are portrayed? Any likes/dislikes?

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Your introduction of characters was really well done. Yes, I do believe I'll like Baldwin. ;)

Posted 5 Years Ago


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AK
Amazing! It is going really well!

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Added on March 26, 2012
Last Updated on March 26, 2012
Tags: Baldwin, Tess, diamond, Darkwater, undercover, mission


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R.G. Bennet
R.G. Bennet

DFW, TX



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I'm a college student who has been in love with reading and writing from a very young age. Books have always been an escape for me, my constant companions, the characters my best friends, their world .. more..

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