The Initiative

Chapter 3: The Immortality Pact.

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity
--Albert Einstein

***

[Scene: 4:30 A.M. Nikki and Tasha's room. Both are sleeping. The room is pitch black. An intercom located in the corner of the room lets off a resounding bang. Nikki and Tasha both sit straight up in bed, startled. ]

Nikki: Wha?

Tasha: Huh?

Morathi: (Over the intercom) Commander Dexter, Commander Franco. Report to the briefing room in 15 minutes. (The intercom cuts out before either one can protest.)

Nikki: I hate it when they do that! (Yawns)

Tasha: I know what you mean. (Gets up and starts looking for the control panel to turn up the lights. She's hears a dull thud from the other side of the room.)

Nikki: OW! Damnit!

Tasha: What did you do?

Nikki: *mumbles something*

Tasha: What? I didn't hear that.

Nikki: *a little louder than before* …I walked into the nightstand…

Tasha: *still not able to hear her* Nikki, your gonna have to talk louder than that.

Nikki: *practically yelling* I walked in to the freakin' nightstand, ok?!

Tasha: (Laughing and turning up the lights) After all this time you'd think you would know your way around the room.

Nikki: *grumbling* Oh shut up. Nobody asked you! (She grabs the uniform she had laid out the night before off of a chair.)

Tasha: (Grabbing her uniform also) Somebody's cranky.

Nikki: It's 4:30 in the freakin' morning. I have a right to be cranky!

Tasha: So says you.

Nikki: Well I get the bathroom first!

Tasha: Oh no you don't!

(Both run for the bathroom)

Nikki: (Getting to the bathroom first) Ha! (Closes the door)

Tasha: I hate you! (Yelling)

Nikki: You love me and you know it! (Yelling back)

(Tasha grumbles at the door)

(They both start to change)

Tasha: Well, let's hope Johnny isn't at the briefing, otherwise you won't be able to concentrate.

Nikki: I'm gonna hurt you a lot.

[Time lapse. 4:45 A.M. The briefing room. Nikki, Tasha, Morathi, Nadine (Lead research scientist) and Kay are there.]

Morathi: You both know about the recent rash of disappearances, right?

Tasha: Of course, it's all over the news.

Morathi: (Giving Nikki and Tasha each a manila folder) The Local Police have tracked them down to this man. (The holographic projector in the middle of the table turns on showing a man with brown hair who looks to be from a high class of people) Luke Harbringer.

Nikki: Wait a minute. Isn't he the head of the local mage circle?

Morathi: Yep.

Tasha: Why are you telling us this? Even if he is a powerful mage, mortals aren't our jurisdiction.

Morathi: Your absolutely right Dexter, but some complications have arisen. The LPD1 had a confrontation with him last night. Not only was he using power that can't be channeled by a normal human, he was immune to any damage.

Tasha: That's impossible, unless he…

Nikki: (interrupting)Your kidding me! You think he made the immortality pact?!

Morathi: It's the only explanation we can think of, which means he's our problem. Not the LPD's.

Tasha: But that's impossible. You have to be an incredibly stable person to become the head of the mage circle. And only a madman would make a pact with a demon.

Morathi: He was a stable person…just not stable enough apparently.

Nikki: What do we know about this guy's past? Anything that could lead to instability?

Kay: About four months ago, there was an explosion resulting from one of his experiments, and his fiancée was killed.

Tasha: Four months ago? That was about when the disappearances started.

Nikki: Do we have any idea why he's taking these people or what he's doing to them?

Nadine: (Clearing her throat) He's experimenting on them. We found the body of one of the first missing. The upper half of his body was stone. I spent hours yesterday studying the body with Captain Raphael. We can't figure out what he was trying to do.

Nikki: Great. So we're dealing with an immortal psycho with tons of power. Is basically what you guys are telling us.

Morathi: Basically…Yes…

Tasha: Oh yay, a male Nikki with immortality.

(Nikki glares at Tasha)

Tasha: (Sighs) So how do we break the immortality pact?

(Morathi, Nadine and Kay look nervously at each other for a second)

Tasha: I don't like the look of those looks.

Morathi: We don't know. We've never encountered something like this before.

Kay: The entire Optech team spent hours trying to find any record of this ever happening or anything on how to break it, but we couldn't find anything.

Tasha: And you expect us to do WHAT exactly about this then?!

Morathi: Well, uh…

Nikki: The Immortality pact can be broken in two ways.

(Everyone turns to stare in astonishment at Nikki who has her elbows on the table and her face in her hands and sounds bored)

Nikki: The first option would be to use a high-level spell drawing power from a demon with more power than the one that the pact is made with.

Kay: Like a dragon slave?

Nikki: Yep.

Morathi: Then that's perfect! That spell being your specialty and all.

Nikki: No. Not perfect.

Everyone sans Nikki: What?!

Nikki: His house is probably surrounded with a shield spell. And probably a damn powerful one at that. Or maybe even a dispersal field spell. If I tried a dragon slave anywhere around or in the house I might end up blowing up the entire city.

Everyone sans Nikki: Oh...

Morathi: Then what's the other option?

Nikki: Break the Pledge Stone.

Tasha: The what?

Nikki: The Pledge Stone. The Immortality pact is…a formal agreement of sorts. But instead of signing on the dotted line the two parties must make a pledge on a stone. Granting the mortal immortality, and in return the demon has some control over the mortal. Breaking the pledge stone would break the pact leaving the mortal vulnerable.

Nadine: Then it must be the demon who is making him perform the experiments.

Nikki: Not necessarily. Luke is the head of the Mage's Circle. The demon can control the Mage's Circle from the background. Giving him a lot of power in the affairs of the city.

Tasha: And he wouldn't jeopardize that position with kidnappings that could lead to the mortal being taken out of office.

Nikki: Exactly.

Kay: How do you know so much about that? We couldn't find a thing in Optech!

Nikki: I come from a long long line of Mage's. We have some magic books over hundreds of years old. That and my ancestors journals.

Morathi: Alright. Anything else you need to know is in the folders you were provided. Find that pledge stone and break it.

Nikki/Tasha: Yes sir.

Morathi: Dismissed.

(They all leave)

Tasha: (Sarcastically) Oh boy. Aren't you excited about our newest assignment.

Nikki: That stone is NOT going to be easy to find…Oh…(Sarcastically) this is going to be tons of fun!

(They start towards the exit of the initiative to their car.)

[Scene: 6:15 A.M. Johnny and Quick's room. Johnny is sitting on a chair with a datapad finishing a letter to his brother (James) back in Hong Kong. Quick wakes up and looks around noticing Johnny engrossed in something.)

Quick: (thinking) What's he up to…(He sneaks up behind Johnny and starts to read over his shoulder.)

Johnny: (Noticing Quick and turning the pad over) What are you doing?

Quick: This. (Grabs the datapad from Johnny and goes back to the beginning to read it.)

Johnny: Hey! (He moves to grab the pad back but misses)

(Quick walks out of reach of Johnny, so Johnny gets up to get his pad back but Quick starts to run and Johnny chases him.)

Quick: (skimming through the letter) Hhmm…….Yeah…That rec room is huge….mm-hhmm……yeah……hhmm… Oh..yeah I agree with that…Ooh!

Johnny: Quick, if you don't give that back right…Ooh what!?

Quick: I got to the part about Nikki. Hhhmm…Ooh!

Johnny: (Blushing beet red) Give that back!!

Quick: I don't think so…It's getting good…

(Johnny catches up to Quick, who keeps getting distracted and slowing down, and grabs back the datapad.)

Johnny: *glaring at Quick* I hate you.

Quick: I know.

[Scene: Nikki and Tasha are in a car headed towards Luke's estate.]

Nikki: I don't think he's made the pact.

Tasha: I don't think so either…

Nikki: Of course it could just be wishful thinking on our part…

Tasha: Y'know, it was a shame that Johnny wasn't at the briefing. He could have been all impressed with your knowledge of sorcery.

Nikki: Tasha, I dislike you a lot.

Tasha: (Rolls eyes) what else is new?

(Nikki gives Tasha a look)

Tasha: Alright, alright, I'll drop it for now.

Nikki: For now? Gee thanks, I'm touched.

Tasha: In the briefing you mentioned your ancestor's journals. Did any of them have an encounter with some one who made the immortality pact?

Nikki: Yep. But back then it was called the immortality pledge. Don't know why they changed it.

Tasha: They change everything.

Nikki: You have a point. But she was an incredible sorceress.

Tasha: How do your powers compare to hers?

Nikki: Actually I have the same magic capacity and my specialties are the same…

Tasha: But?

Nikki: How'd you know there was a but?

Tasha: There's always a but.

Nikki: She was sixteen or seventeen when she had most of her adventures. That and she had some reputation. Every one knew who she was. The Chaos and Destruction Poster Child.

Tasha: I get the feeling that wasn't her only nickname…

Nikki: Oh god no…I have her temper…so that explains most of her nicknames…

Tasha: It definitely does. Inherit anything else from her?

Nikki: Her height. (Nikki pulls over and parks in an abandoned parking lot about a mile away from the estate) We should probably go the rest of the way on foot.

Tasha: I agree.

(They both get out of the car and walk towards the estate.)

[Time lapse. Nikki and Tasha notice that the front door is ajar and push it open slowly looking around cautiously. The foyer is empty and dark. They walk in slowly. The door closes behind them.]

Tasha: (whispering) Where is he?

(The torches lining the foyer suddenly light up.)

Luke: (descending a large staircase) I'm right here. (He sends a barrage of freeze arrows at them)

Nikki: Fireball! (The fireball cancels out the freeze arrows.)

Luke: Well done. I see the ones who would oppose me posses great skill. Well how do you do?

Tasha: Cut the Crap.

Luke: Oh alright. Can I assume you both will continue to oppose me?

Tasha: Well yeah, we are going to have to keep on doing this.

Nikki: You see, if we don't get rid of you we don't get paid.

Luke: Well, in that case I should make you both disappear. However I find the magic of your bodies appealing for my uses. (Evil chuckle.)

Nikki: B-bodies? Tasha, you go with him!

Tasha: WHAT!?

Luke: I will make you subjects in my experiments. I shall extract your life energy.

Nikki: Our life energy? You're doing immortality research!

Luke: Yes. Now do be good enough to die quietly. I'm a busy man and have no time to play. Fireball!

(Tasha and Nikki dive to each side dodging the fireball)

Nikki: Flare Arrow! (The Flare arrow bounces right off of him.) Tough guy, huh? Elmekia Lance! (Nikki fires a lance of light at Luke)

Tasha: Gaav Flare! (The stream of flame hits Luke and engulfs him in a pillar of fire.)

Nikki: Uh Tash…It's kind of dangerous to throw Gaav Flare's around like that…

Luke: (Dispersing the fire) I'm so pleased by the power of your magic!

Tasha: What?!

Luke: Allow me to introduce my partner, Ligvan.

(A demon fades in. He's wearing a sad face mask. He has green spiky hair and is dressed in a torn black cloak that's bigger than him.)

Tasha: A monster…You did make the pact!

Luke: I see you know about the pact. Now be nice and let me capture you.

Nikki: Well, Only one thing left to do. RUN!

(Tasha and Nikki split up and run into adjoining rooms)

[In the room Tasha ran into.]

(Tasha is kneeling behind a desk in room with her gun.)

Tasha: (thinking) OK, so he did make the pact…we have to find the pledge stone…where the hell are we going to find the pledge stone…

(Nikki comes crashing into the room barely dodging an explosion. She goes sliding on the floor next to Tasha. She rolls into a kneeling position facing the door.)

Nikki: Masu Varimu! (She sends a ball of light towards the door, which ends up canceling out the incoming fireball.)

Tasha: Nice reflexes. Wait a minute, Nikki, since when can you cast white magic spells?!

Nikki: (trying to avoid the conversation) This isn't the moment to be discussing this!

Luke: (walking into the room) Not bad at all. Your magical powers truly please me. But I'm quite busy and don't have time for these games!

Tasha: How about this game? (She aims her gun at him)

Nikki: Fireball!

(Tasha fires two energy bolts from her gun. All three blasts hit him and have no effect.)

Tasha: Can't we do anything?!

(Nikki takes a step back and step on some glass. She looks down at the broken shards.)

Nikki: (Thinking) Glass…huh…It just might work…what have I got to lose…guess I'll give it a shot…(Nikki runs in between Luke and Tasha facing Luke.) Luke, I accept the honor of being your victim. (She bows her head and closes her eyes)

Tasha: Nikki!

Luke: Finally came to your senses. (He starts to power up a fireball.)

(Ligvan, who had been watching from outside the room, fades away.)

Nikki: (Thinking) Holy wind, (Luke cackles evilly) Wind which gently flows across the land, (Luke is almost done powering up the spell when Nikki's head snaps up with her eyes open.) (Out loud) Let all things be filled with your pure breath! (She drops to one knee and slams her hand on the ground) VAN REHL! (Strings of ice shoot out from Nikki's hand and run along the floor at Luke and begin to engulf him.)

Luke: (Fighting the ice) This…will…not…(He becomes frozen in a large block of ice.)

Tasha: You did it…

Nikki: I can't believe that worked…We need to find that pledge stone before he breaks out of that ice.

[Scene: A different room in the estate. The room is trashed and it's obvious that Nikki and Tasha having been searching it for awhile. Nikki is currently going through the drawers in a desk and Tasha is standing on a ladder searching above the ceiling tiles.]

Tasha: OK, it's really disgusting up here. Why am I searching the ceiling again?

Nikki: Because the stone could be anywhere.

(She kicks the ladder out from under Tasha, causing Tasha to have to pull herself up above the ceiling tiles to keep from falling)

Tasha: HEY!

Nikki: Oh quit complaining! (Nikki pulls out a picture frame of a young red headed girl from the desk drawer.) Must be his fiancee'…She's pretty.(Mumbling to herslef)

Tasha: Hey, come up here, you should take a look at this…

[Scene: A dark room lined with gargoyles holding lit glowing red orbs giving the room an eerie glow. A large stone on the floor is moved and Tasha and Nikki pull themselves up into the room.]

Nikki: OK, Now this is creepy…

Tasha: Your telling me…

(They start walking and looking around)

Nikki: Careful where you step…there could be a trap…

(3 huge stone golems rise up from the ground behind Nikki and Tasha. They turn to face the golems)

Tasha: Looks like you were right…

Nikki: In this case I'd rather be wrong…

Luke: (from behind them) Looks like your trapped. (Starting to sound slightly annoyed) Now if you would just behave and die!

Nikki: (Turning to Luke) I never behaved for my parents, so what makes you think I'll behave for you? (Dropping to one knee) Bemphis Spring! (The ground around Tasha and Nikki collapses and they end up dropping from the top story of the estate to below the basement)

Tasha: (while falling) Brilliant Nikki, just brilliant. If we survive the fall remind me to smack you.

Nikki: Oh shut up, I didn't see you coming up with any bright ideas. (getting close to the ground) Levitation!

Tasha: Levitation!

(The both float to the ground)

Nikki: See? It wasn't that bad!

(Tasha rolls her eyes. They look around. They're in an enclosed room, on a concrete 'island' surrounded by murky looking water)

Tasha: Not that bad? How the hell do we get out of here?!

Nikki: Well you could always cast a ray wing and go join Luke on the top level.

Tasha:

Nikki: That's what I thought…

(They hear a loud splash behind them and turn around but don't see anything.)

Tasha: What was that?

Nikki: I don't know…

(They hear another splash but this time to the right of them. They turn to see what it was but once again don't see anything.)

Tasha: It definitely doesn't sound good…

(A huge deformed looking spider rises up in front of them, looking hungry)

Nikki/Tasha: Crap…

(The spider poises to attack when suddenly Nikki phases out.)

Tasha: Nikki!

[Scene: The Initiative. A corridor that looks like every other corridor in the place. Quick and Johnny are walking along.]

Johnny: We're lost aren't we.

Quick: We are not lost. I know exactly where we are.

Johnny: oh? And where, exactly, are we?

Quick: (Pauses) I don't know…

Johnny: You got us lost!

Quick: Oh I don't see you doing any better.

(Kay and Val are walking down the corridor when they hear the two arguing.)

Val: Lost?

Johnny: (Glaring at Quick) A little…

Val: Where are your tour guides?

Quick: We don't know actually…

Kay: They're on a case actually…I have no idea when they'll be back, but we're headed to the café in the rec room to get some food if you want to come.

Quick: Sure.

(The four leave and head for the rec room)

[Scene: A torn up old room. The only lighting in the room is two candles sitting on a set table in the middle of the room. Ligvan is seated at the table. Nikki phases in. She's confused.]

Ligvan: Welcome.

Nikki: (She sees the set table and gets a good idea of what's going on) If you want me to eat with you…I'm gonna require a formal invitation.

Ligvan: Hear me out and you need not fear sitting at this table.

Nikki: Hear you out?

Ligvan: Won't you join me?

Nikki: Heh heh, I don't think so…

[Scene: Tasha who is still with the spider.]

Tasha: Damnit Nikki! Fireball!

[Back with Nikki who is now sitting at the table with Ligvan.]

Ligvan: What I want is to collect people with power, even if they aren't members of the monster race. That's why the Mage's Circle and Luke caught my attention. Since you've arrived it's prudent to invite you in as well. The Franco family name is well known among the monster race. If you so wish you can make the immortality pledge with as Luke did. And you may finally escape the death that plague's foolish humans as well as their meaningless fate. Join us and all your wishes will be granted. I swear upon this mask.

Nikki: Is that the end of your little story? You must take a lot of pleasure in (her voice turning sarcastic) pitying our meaningless fates.(She flicks the wine glass over) Unfortunetly, I prefer a story with a happier ending. (The glass hits the table and shatters) Flow Break!

(A white magic circle flashes and Nikki disappears from the room and the candles go out leaving Ligvan alone in the darkness)

[Scene: The Initiative. Café in the rec room. Quick, Johnny, Val, Kay, and Morathi(Who joined them when they got there) are finished with their breakfast and talking about what Johnny and Quick think about their branch of the Initiative while the waiter clears the table.]

Quick: (Teasingly) Well, I know why Johnny likes it.

(Johnny gives Quick a look)

Morathi: (Not getting the joke) Why?

Quick: Well…

(Quick gets cut off when Nikki appears about five feet in the air above the table and crashes into Johnny sending them both sprawling on the ground.)

Quick: What the hell?

Johnny: (Groaning as he sits up) What hit me?

Kay/Val: Nikki.

Johnny: Huh?

Nikki: (groaning as she slowly sits up) OK, that did not work…

Morathi: That was the stupidest entrance I've ever seen…

Nikki: (pouting slightly) Yeah, well, it was a really cool exit.

Kay: I thought you and Tasha were at the estate…

Nikki: (rubbing her head) We were…

Val: Speaking of Tasha, where is she?

Nikki: *realizing she hasn't seen Tasha since the spider and groans* Probably back at the estate…

Morathi: And why are you here?

Nikki: Because monsters are assholes that make dimensional pockets in the most inconvenient places!

Johnny: Okay, breathe.

Nikki: I am breathing damnit!

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A/N – Well I meant to finish up this little adventure in this chapter, then I looked at the length and how long it had been since I posted. Hopefully I'll get the next chapter up faster.

Reviews are always appreciated! ^_^