by Sherri Smith
    This is a crossover story between "Poltergeist: The Legacy" and "Touched By An Angel". Hope you enjoy it!

"This place feels strange, Tess," Monica said, as she shivered and drew her arms around her shoulders. "It feels ... evil. What is this place?" She was sitting in Tess' convertible near the driveway of the Luna Foundation's estate. Although the air had a crispness to it, she felt a brisk chill run through her entire being. She shivered again, already dreading this new assignment that she was going to be given. She said a silent prayer to God that he would strengthen her; immediately, she felt better.

"It's alright, Angel Girl," Tess answered in a calming and reassuring voice. "The people that work there are ... well ... they're sort've on the same side as we are. They just don't think about the fact that their doing God's work; but they are. You sense the presence of evil because they fight it first hand here -- lots of times within their own house. Most of the time, they can handle their cases just fine on their own; but, this time, they're gonna need a whole lotta our help to make it through this next investigation they're gonna be workin' on!"

Monica noted Andrew's absence. She had gotten use to relying upon his help and asked, "Is it just the two of us, then?" She looked at the looming castle before her and felt another wave of dread come over her.

Tess smiled, almost as though she could read the younger angel's thoughts. "For now ..." she answered. "For now. God will decide in His time if any other angels will help us on this. But, for now, we're on our own." She looked over at Monica and noted the look of apprehension on the novice's face. She enjoyed working with Monica very much but, sometimes, it was a real test for Tess. Monica was sometimes ruled more by her generous heart and emotions than by her head; and this time, Monica was definitely going to need to keep her head -- and her wits -- about her!

As they sat in silence looking at the castle before them, a red Mustang sped up the road (oblivious to their presence) and "whipped" into the driveway of the Luna Foundation. Both angels spotted a nice-looking, intense young man behind the wheel of the car; and both angels could sense a very troubled spirit and soul within him!

"Oh, Tess!" Monica exclaimed, "That young man is in such turmoil! He could really use our help. Is he my assignment?" Monica was a very intuitive and sensitive being. The previous dread and apprehension she had felt melted away at the realization that before her was a young man whose life was filled with strife. She could sense when other's lives had difficulty in it; she could sense it now pouring off this profound young man! "I'd like t'be able t'help 'im, Tess," she continued. "Is he why were here? Something is troublin' him; who is he? What ...."

"Now hold on, Miss Wings," Tess interrupted, kindly but firmly. "Don't get goin' ahead of yourself. He's part of the assignment, but how big a part is yet to be seen. There are actually six people who live and work -- at least most of the time -- at this House. It's called the Luna Foundation, but it's actually a secret organization known as 'The Legacy'. This organization has been fighting since Biblical days against the forces of Satan."

"So that's what'cha meant when ya said they were doin' God's work only they didn't think about it in those terms?" Monica said. "An' whatever they're gonna work on next, they're gonna need our help?"

"That's right, Baby," Tess responded. "That young man who just walked in ... that was Nick Boyle." Under her breath, she commented, "Despite everything's that's happened to him, God has a purpose for that young man and he faces life's challenges with his fists up." More firmly, she continued, "Ya see, Monica, Nick has a very troubled past; he was a victim of child abuse at the hands of his father -- a man who had also been a member of the Legacy at one time! -- and ...."

"Ya mean his father was doin' God's work by fighting evil an' then goin' home and beatin' up on his own son?!" Monica exclaimed, shock and pain clearly written on her expression and laced in her voice. "How terrible!"

"That's right," Tess answered simply. "And, he was abusing his wife as well. But, that's not all I have to tell you. Nick also served in the Navy SEALs -- an elite (and deadly!) military group. He was sent into all kinds of life-threatening situations during his three-year tour of duty. When he left the SEALs, he wandered around ... lost for awhile. But, along the way, he met a woman named Julia; she convinced him to join The Legacy with her."

"An' so 'Julia' is another member of the Legacy House?" Monica inquired.

"I'm afraid not," Tess answered regretfully. "She was killed during a case they were workin' on a few years back. Although she's now at peace in Heaven, it caused Nick a great deal of pain and has since made him more reckless and, at times, careless with his own life."

"Seems like he likes livin' on the edge," Monica noted.

"Well, Baby," Tess replied, with compassion in her voice, "I think he likes livin' that way 'cause that's about all he knows."

Monica could sense there was more to the story and tried pressing. "Why do I get the feeling there's more about Nick Boyle that yer not tellin'? Have ya met 'im before, Tess?" she asked on a hunch.

"Yes," Tess answered quietly. "Both Andrew and I have played a part in this young man's past; but, now is not the time to go into all that. I want to show you the other members of the House and tell you what I can about the assignment. And then, Miss Wings, you're on your own!"

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Sitting high atop a storage bin in the corner of a very high-tech room, Monica and Tess observed two people in the center of the room. One was a beautiful, young black woman sitting at a computer terminal; the other was a very distinguished and nice-looking man staring over her shoulder. They watched as he straightened and looked about the room.

"Did you feel that?" Derek asked Alex as she continued to choose options that were appearing on the screen in front of her. He looked around the room, sure that he had sensed a ... he wasn't sure ... a "presence" perhaps ... enter it.

"Feel what?" Alex answered. She stopped typing and looked up at her mentor. She could see that he appeared uneasy and looked around the room herself trying to sense what he might be talking about. Feeling nothing, she replied, "I don't feel anything." She paused and then continued, "What did it feel like? Do you still sense it?"

Derek laughed, half to himself, as he answered. "It's nothing. I thought I felt a presence of some sort enter the room. I still feel like we're being watched. But, with the security in this place, nothing could get into the Control Room undetected."

Alex joined him in laughter. "Well, it's not everyday we get to see you act a little jumpy, Derek."

"No," he answered, trying to place some authority in his voice and hide the laughter. "And don't get use to it. I'm sure I'm just anxious for Nick to get back with the news on the shipment."

Monica turned to Tess and asked, "How come he suspects we're here? I thought humans could only see us when we choose fer them to?"

"He's a psychic, Monica," Tess explained. "In fact, they both are; he's just a little ... stronger ... with it than she is."

"Who is he?" Monica asked. "He seems t'be verra sure of himself."

"He has to be," Tess replied. "He's what's called the 'Precept' of this House -- which simply means that 'he's the boss'! His name is Derek Rayne. Like Nick, he was raised within the Legacy; his father was a former Precept who fell under the influence of the dark forces and died in front of his son. He passed the burden of fighting evil along to Derek."

"Oh, how awful!" Monica exclaimed. "Does he know his father had changed sides?"

"He does now," Tess answered. "But he doesn't allow himself to dwell on that. He's a good man, and the young woman there ... her name is Alexandra Moreau -- they call her 'Alex'. She's a good-hearted woman who would do anything for the other members of the group; she's very bright, but not always very sure of herself."

Monica sighed, almost afraid to ask. "An' what's her story?"

Tess laughed as she replied, "Well, she hasn't really got one! She was raised in the Creole area of the South by her Gramma and was taught about the gift of sight from her. She's lived a fairly carefree life and came to work for the Legacy after meeting and getting to know Derek Rayne. He taught a few college courses she had taken and, when she learned about the Legacies battles with evil, she took up the cause."

"She sounds like a verra good person," Monica said with some relief. She was beginning to feel overwhelmed by both Derek and Nick's dark pasts and felt better knowing that Alex (at least) had had a fairly normal childhood.

Tess could sense what Monica was thinking and replied, "Alex is a very good person. But, like all members of the Legacy, she has her 'abnormalities' too. Just think what it must've been like growing up with 'the gift of sight'. Other children can be so cruel sometimes when a child is different from they are." She watched as Monica nodded her understanding. At that moment, Nick Boyle entered the room. Monica could see that, not only was the young man nice-looking and intense, but also rugged and athletic. "Pay close attention now, Angel Girl. You might just learn a little bit about this assignment."

"Nick," Derek exclaimed, as he saw the young man enter the room, "what's the word on the shipment?"

"It's right on schedule," Nick replied as he hopped on top of the closest computer station. "It should be here no later than 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. According to the shipping manifest, there are four small boxes of artifacts; I should be able to handle it on my own in one load if I take your Range Rover."

"Of course," Derek responded. "So the railway people finally think it'll arrive this time?"

"Yeah," Nick answered. "They don't know what caused the train to mysteriously stop just west of Cleveland last week to cause the delay. They said that there haven't been any other incidents and, like I said, they expect it to be here tomorrow."

"Excellent!" Derek exclaimed. "Tomorrow morning, Alex and I will prepare a workspace in the Library for the artifacts. I'll call Rachel and see if she's interested in coming to help. Unfortunately, Philip isn't sure he'll be able to make it on this one."

"Big surprise," Nick stated, sarcastically.

Ignoring Nick's comment, Derek continued, "When you arrive with the crates, we'll unload 'em and begin our investigations. More than likely, I'll have you continue Alex's computer research while she and I inspect the objects."

"Whatever you say," Nick answered. "I'm gonna head out for a short run ... unless you need me to do something now."

"No," Derek replied. "Just plan to be at the train station tomorrow no later than 2:00 P.M. sharp."

"Right," Nick said, as he left the Control Room.

"What kinda shipment are they waitin' fer, Tess?" Monica inquired.

"Shhhhh," Tess replied. "Listen!"

Alex smiled as she turned her chair to face Derek. "I still can't believe we're gonna get to do the first initial research on the artifacts found at the dig in Maine. I thought for sure that the New York or Boston House would get that privilege!"

"So did I," Derek agreed. "But, as I pointed out to Jacobson, our House has an excellent reputation in the research area and, that coupled with the fact that we're currently not on a case or investigation, we would be the perfect choice for doing the initial research."

"Still," Alex countered, "with Sloan gone and Jacobson assuming his duties on a temporary basis, I'm just surprised -- although it's a pleasant surprise -- that we got the go-ahead."

"Yes, well, that also tells you how hard you, Nick, Rachel and I are going to have to work on this!" Derek replied. "So, show me what you've found so far on the religious cult that was formed in Maine."

Alex pushed several buttons on the computer and an ancient-looking text appeared on the screen. She perused it quickly and then turned back to Derek, replying, "According to the database records, there was a religious cult formed, circa 1675, just north of what is now the Bangor, Maine area. There are a lot of similarities between that group and Reverend Hawkins' group that Nick and Rachel had investigated about a year ago. Basically, this cult was also run by a Reverend ... Reverend Samuel McIntyre. This self-proclaimed minister came to America after being forced to leave Ireland for practicing what many there felt was 'black magic' or 'demon worship' instead of Godly teachings."

Monica shivered and looked to Tess, who shook her head slowly in agreement with what Alex was saying. "How awful!" Monica replied, soulfully. "Sometimes I just don't understand humans, Tess. How could they turn away from God and His teachings to follow Lucifer?!"

"I don't know, Baby," Tess replied softly. "Now listen ... and learn."

Alex had continued, "... so he and his following cut themselves off from any other settlers in the area and 'worshipped' the way he ordered them to. Apparently, settlers from nearby encampments began to realize that some of their own were missing and they suspected the Reverend and his group of using them in sacrificial ceremonies. They ...."

"Is there any confirmation on this?" Derek inquired, interrupting Alex's historical lesson. "Did they have any proof before they took action?"

"Did the Salem Witch Trials have any real, concrete proof before they hung people?" she responded. "No. I think the fact that members of their colony were missing coupled with the fact that the Reverend followed very bizarre rituals, made their settlement the prime suspect for the disappearances."

"But," Derek continued, "there were also Native Americans in that region. Is there any information in the database whether or not they were suspected of being responsible for the disappearances?"

"No, by all accounts, the members of the colony suspected Reverend McIntyre and his followers of sacrificially offering these missing people to Satan and, convinced of that fact, a group of settlers went to the Reverend's settlement and killed all who were there -- including the Reverend himself! They then cursed the remains to eternal damnation and burned the colony to the ground."

Once again, Monica shivered. She felt a comforting hand on her shoulder and turned with some relief to see that it belonged to Raphael. "Raphael," she exclaimed, "are you gonna be workin' with me on this case?"

"Sure am, Monica," he replied as he smiled at her and Tess. "Sorry I'm late, Tess. I was finishing up my last assignment when helping you and Monica on this one came up."

"That's alright, Angel Boy," Tess replied softly. "Now, just shut up yer yapping and listen."

Derek walked around the room, once again feeling as though a presence had joined them. He looked around and then dismissed his senses as being on edge due to the excitement of the artifacts soon to arrive. "So," he remarked, "There is a possibility that these objects that were recovered at the dig site are or were cursed relics used by Reverend McIntyre's followers."

"Right," Alex confirmed. "And that would also explain why the constructions workers at the dig have had so many unexplained and dangerous mishaps. If these items did indeed belong to Reverend McIntyre's followers -- or to the Reverend himself, that could mean that the ground the workers are working at is cursed or haunted." She paused before adding, "In any case, it's a wonderful opportunity for us to study some ancient antiquities."

"Yes," Derek responded, hesitantly. "But we shouldn't just approach them as antiquities. Remember, Alex, this is still a 'Legacy' investigation. The very real possibility of demon possession, curses, etc. are attached to these items until we are convinced otherwise. We'll approach the research and investigation with caution, understood?"

"Sure," Alex said as she turned off the computer and faced Derek. She picked up the files she had printed on Reverend McIntyre's historical background. "I think I'll just read over these again tonight before I turn them -- and my notes -- over to Nick tomorrow. Good night."

Monica, Tess and Raphael watched as the two humans left the Control Room in utter darkness. "This is gonna be some assignment, isn't it, Tess?" Raphael inquired. He, too, had felt a sense of foreboding and doom over the place upon arriving at it. Like Monica, he could sense the wealth of troubled souls connected to "The Luna Foundation".

"It sure is," Tess replied, regretfully. "It sure is!"

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Derek entered his office and tried to sense what he had felt earlier in the Control Room; he felt nothing. He shook his head in dismissal and sat behind his desk to call Rachel. As he reached for the phone, several disjointed images exploded in his mind ....

....a beautiful dark-haired woman, smiling and warm, connected somehow to the artifacts....

....Alex crying out as if in pain!....

....Nick yelling and then storming out of the House.... unseen presence of evil surrounding the Legacy House....

He managed to take a few deep, calming breathes before totally shaking the dreadful images that had invaded his mind. He hoped that that's all these visions would prove to be -- images and not some kind of prophesy of what was about to come. He once again reached out and dialed Rachel Corrigan's number.

Hearing her answer the phone, he abruptly interrupted her "introduction" by saying, "Rachel, it's Derek. That shipment from Maine is going to arrive at two o'clock tomorrow; Nick's going to pick it up. Are you interested in helping us with the research and investigation of the artifacts?"

"Well, hello to you, too," Rachel said, being only slightly sarcastic. One of the things about Derek's personality that annoyed her the most was his "business first" attitude. It just didn't mesh with a psychiatrist's "touchy-feely" one very well! She smiled to herself at the silence coming from his end, knowing that he would never change. "Sure," she answered. "I have appointments up through 4:30, but I can come and spend most of the evening. I'll get Emily to ...."

"Fine," Derek again interrupted. "I'll see you sometime after 5:00 then." He was about to hang up when he was interrupted -- this time, by Rachel.

"Whoa," she said. "Just a minute; something's wrong ... I can tell. What's bothering you?"

Derek hesitated before he answered. The last thing he wanted was for his associates to think he was getting "jumpy", as Alex put it. Finally, trusting Rachel's professionalism, he confided, "Just before I called you, I had a disturbing vision. I still haven't fully been able to shake it."

Concerned, Rachel inquired, "Was it about the shipment? Anyone in particular? Are you alright?" Rachel heard Derek laugh at the barrage of questions she had just thrown at him and she laughed with him. She slowed down, saying, "Well, first of all, are you alright? No headache or ill effects from it?"

"I'm fine," he answered, sounding better already. "The images just disturbed me; they were sudden and, to be perfectly honest, I don't know if they're connected to the shipment or not. I think what I needed was a good laugh ... and you certainly gave that to me."

"Anything I can do to help," Rachel said again, in a light-hearted tone. "But seriously, if you need to talk about it ...."

"Yours will be the first number I call," Derek reassured her. "Take care and I'll see you tomorrow."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Standing on the train platform, Monica look down the long, winding tracks to see if the train was approaching. Seeing that it wasn't, she turned back to Tess. "They're not expectin' anyone with the shipment, are they, Tess?!" she stated. "So, I wonder how unhappy that's gonna make 'em when they meet me."

"Don't worry about it," Tess assured her. She put a big, loving arm around the younger angel's shoulders. "Yer gonna do just fine. If you get stuck, I'll be there -- or Raphael -- and you know you can always count on God! He'll be with you every step of the way, Angel Girl. Just listen to your heart and you'll know what to do and say."

"But it's gonna get dangerous," Monica inquired, "Isn't it, Tess? I can tell that this isn't like any other case I've been on before."

"Well, yer gonna be fighting Satan and his demons a little more head on this time," Tess answered. "That's fer sure! But just keep trusting in the Lord and he'll give you the courage and strength to get through."

Monica nodded knowing just how true those words were. But, her heart went out to the human's she would be working with for she knew they didn't always rely upon that assurance of His protection. She said a final prayer for strength, courage and support before vanishing into the approaching train.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Nick pulled Derek's Range Rover up as close to the unloading area as he could. 'I'd love to take this baby for a real test drive in the mountains sometime,' he thought as he exited the vehicle and headed to the train personnel who were debarking. He approached the person who appeared to be in charge and identified himself. "Hi, I'm Nick Boyle. I'm here to pick up the shipment from the construction dig in Maine. I was told there's four small shipping crates; if you point me in their direction, I'll get started unloading them."

"Now just a minute," the Cargo Manager said, "Slow up there, Bud. We've got a few papers you need to sign that yer takin' charge of the crates before we can let ya near 'em."

"Sure," Nick answered as he followed the man into the office. He barely skimmed the paperwork, knowing that it was standard shipping orders, and finally headed to the cargo of the train. He immediately noticed a group of men unloading boxes. As he approached, he also noticed a beautiful, young woman standing near a smaller stack of crates. "I'm here to pick up the shipment from the Bangor dig," he announced to the workers. "Can I give ya a hand there?"

"No need," one of the workers stated. "Yer crates are over there." The man nodded his head in the direction of the young lady. "That's yer stuff, next to the architect lady," the man continued.

Nick felt a sudden sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Years of trusting his instincts had taught him that, when he felt something was out of place, he was usually right. Now, looking towards the "architect" next to his shipment, he felt those instincts kicking in. Slowly he approached the shipment and stared at the captivating lady beside it. He noticed her smile at him as he approached and couldn't help returning that smile.

"Hello there," Monica said. "I assume yer my ride?"

The question reassured Nick that his instincts indeed had not let him down! 'Derek is gonna love this,' he thought before reaching out his hand to shake the woman's offered one. "Hi. Nick Boyle," he answered. "And, if your here with the Bangor construction site shipment, then I guess I'm your ride."

"Ya weren't expectin' me," Monica said, casually. "Were ya? It was a last minute decision fer them t'be sendin' along one o'their architects. But, the construction crew did find this material and they wanted t'make sure it was gonna be in safe hands. The Luna Foundation has an excellent reputation for datin' and researchin' antiquities; but all the same, they did find it and it belongs to the owners of the land and the gentlemen that found it." She paused, noting how uncomfortable Nick seemed. Her heart went out to him, knowing what she did about him. She continued as soothingly as she could, "I'm sorry t'be a surprise sprung on ya like this. I just need t'be goin' wherever the artifacts go."

"I understand," Nick said. "It's just .... Well, no, we weren't expecting anyone. It'll be fine though. I'm in the Range Rover straight ahead; why don't you go get seated and I'll take care of your bags and these crates."

"I can give ya a hand if ya ...."

"No," Nick said, interrupting. It was obvious to Monica that whatever else this young man was, he was certainly a gentleman. "I can handle it. You've had a pretty rough train trip from what I've heard. Go on and get a seat; I'll be done loading this in a minute."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Reaching the ferry dock, Nick was only slightly upset that he had missed the previous ferry by about 10 minutes. He had enjoyed Monica's company in the Rover and was glad for the excuse to extend the visit with her -- especially before she had to encounter Derek. He could just imagine what his reaction to Monica was going to be!

"We'll have to wait for the next ferry; it'll only be about a 15-20 minute wait. Can I buy you a cup o'coffee, Monica?" Nick inquired, heading her towards a small cafe he frequented near the docks.

"I'd love a cup of Decaf Mocha," she answered enthusiastically.

"Decaf Mocha it'll be," Nick answered with laughter in his voice. He reflected to himself how long it had been since an adult had made him laugh. Sure, he laughed and joked with Kat all the time; but, talking to Monica was different somehow. She made him feel so ... carefree ... somehow. They entered the cafe, ordered their "coffees" and then sat at a corner table relishing the hot beverages and the light conversation.

"It's been about those 15 minutes," Monica replied, regretfully. "If we're gonna make the next boat, shouldn't we be goin'?"

"Yeah," Nick answered, also regretfully. He rose, paid the tab and then escorted Monica back to the Range Rover. After they were safely loaded on the ferry and it was en route, he felt obligated to "warn" her about Derek. "Listen," he said as he turned to Monica. "We weren't expecting anyone with the shipment and my boss can be ... well ... he can be a little ... abrasive at times!"

"I see," Monica said as she thought about the Precept and his "take-charge" attitude. "I imagine he'll be a little 'abrasive' as you say about my presence then?"

Nick hesitated before answering, "Yeah, well, I'm not sure how he'll react. I just ... well, I just wanted to warn you in case he comes off a little harsh; that's all. He's a nice guy -- most of the time -- but ...."

"But, he's not expectin' me with the shipment," Monica finished for him. She watched as Nick nodded and her heart again filled with overflowing emotion for this young man. Although she had only learned of his existence yesterday -- as well as about his terrible past -- she felt an immediate kinship somehow with him. No human that she had met thus far ever touched her heart and soul quite the way that he did and the sensation was most appealing to the still-learning case worker; it wasn't so much a physical "attraction" as a deep caring she felt for Nick Boyle. She prayed to God for continued strength, courage and guidance as they rode towards the Luna Foundation in silence.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

The smile that had appeared on Derek's face when he heard the sound of his vehicle pull up to the main entrance quickly faded as he watched the young woman who had been seated beside Nick exit the vehicle. His questioning glance scanned Nick's face and he saw a slight shrug in Nick's shoulders. The young woman maneuvered herself around the vehicle and approached Derek with an outstretched hand.

"I'm Monica," she said politely. "And I understand that you weren't expectin' me. I'm sorry about that. There must've been a breakdown in communication somewhere along the lines."

"Apparently so," Derek answered coolly. "May I ask whom you represent?"

"Why, yes," she answered, still friendly and now feeling as though she would have no problems weathering this man's temper. "I'm t'remain with the artifacts from the construction dig at all times. They sent me t'be watchin' over their interests in this matter. Since there was a delay on the train trip, I'm surprised no one bothered t'inform ya of this. I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience." She smiled at the young, black woman who had appeared behind Derek and approached her, extending her hand, "Hello. I'm Monica; I'm an architect from Maine. I guess I'm gonna be a guest here for a few days."

Alex looked to Derek for confirmation, who gave a simple nod of his head. Seeing the look he was giving Nick, Alex knew what it meant and decided to take Monica inside and get her situated. "Monica," she said, taking the young woman by the arm, "I'm Alex ... Alex Moreau. If you'll just come with me, we'll get you set up in a room."

Monica turned towards Nick. She had sensed Derek's desire to talk to the young man and felt apprehensive at leaving. "Perhaps I should help Nick with the cargo first," she started.

"That's alright," Nick stated. "Derek and I can handle it." He paused, starring at Derek and then smiling at Monica. "I'll bring your things up shortly. Alex'll take good care of ya ... won't you, Alex?"

"Absolutely," Alex said, in a friendly tone. "Right this way, Monica."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Upon Alex exiting Monica's room, Tess appeared. Monica quickly approached her and expressed her concern. "Derek's gonna yell at Nick about me, isn't he?!" Noting the nod of Tess' head, she continued, "But that isn't fair! Nick didn't know about my arrival any more than the rest o'them. Why should Derek take it out on him?!"

"Well, Baby," Tess began to explain, "That's just part of Derek's and Nick's relationship. You see, Nick is very headstrong and impetuous. And, even though Derek knows this isn't his fault, he uses things like this to exert his authority over Nick ... kinda like tryin' to keep him in line and outta trouble. Understand?"

Monica walked to the window and looked down at the driveway below, knowing the conversation that must be taking place. She hated that it was at her expense. She turned back to Tess and answered, "I understand ... but I don't like it."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Derek and Nick were carrying in the second load -- the last two crates -- when Derek finally decided to have his "talk" with Nick. As they set the boxes down on the long Library table, he turned to his younger associate and stated, "Why didn't you call and tell me about this ... Monica?"

Nick sighed. He had been wondering what was taking Derek so long to lace into him about Monica's presence. Noting the lack of humor on Derek's face, he answered curtly, "And how was I suppose to do that in front of her? I mean, I think it would've been a little too rude to call you in front of her and warn you that there was someone tagging along with the shipment, don't you?!"

Derek glared long and hard at Nick; this time, Nick had made a very valid point. All the same, he didn't want Nick to take his anger lightly and he replied, "Yes, but knowing you, Nick, you could've found a way to reach me -- if you had wanted too." He waited for a rebuttal from the ex-SEAL and, hearing none, he continued, "Do you know exactly why she's here? Did she say anything more to you about it?"

"Nope," Nick replied simply. "Just what she said to you -- that it was a last minute decision by the construction group for her to look out for their interests." He hesitated and then figured, 'what the Hell' before adding, "And I can't really blame 'em; after all, they did find the stuff. I'm sure they just want to make sure that nothing terrible happens to it."

Derek's anger quickly flared again, but he sighed it off. Sometimes there was just no getting around an argument or discussion with Nicholas Boyle! Instead, he tried probing more about Monica. "So, you really don't know anything else about her then?"

"No," Nick answered, slightly disappointed that Derek hadn't accepted his challenge for another "debate" (as Nick liked to think of his discussions/arguments with Derek). "Other than the fact that she likes 'Decaf Mocha' coffee." He laughed to himself and then said, in a more serious tone, "Look, Derek, I'll keep an eye on 'er if you want, but I really don't think there's anything 'dark and mysterious' about her presence here. I think she's here for the exact reason she said ... to look out for the construction group's interest; that's it."

Derek nodded and Nick left the room to return the Range Rover to it's proper place in the garage. Half to himself, Derek answered aloud, "I hope you're right, Nick ... for all our sakes, I hope you're right!"

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Alex and Derek had begun to carefully unpack the contents of the four shipping crates when Monica and Nick walked in to join them. Derek once again immediately tensed at the presence of Monica. 'I've felt this presence before,' he thought to himself as he watched the beautiful, young woman peeking into the various open crates before her. "Have you seen the relics before?" he asked her suddenly, catching her off guard.

Monica immediately sensed that Derek was going to be a bit of a problem. Between his "psychic" ability and his "leadership" abilities, she knew that he would be constantly testing her. On her guard, but as warm and friendly as she could be, she answered, "No, not really. They were all crated and ready to be shipped when I learned of this assignment." She stumbled and then corrected herself, "I mean ... when I learned that I'd be comin' here t'be watchin' the investigation of the objects."

Nick could tell that Derek's sometimes over-bearing personality was flustering Monica and quickly stepped to her side and lightly touched her arm. He smiled and said, in a carefree and warm tone, "Don't let 'im throw you, Monica -- his bark's worse than his bite!" Noting the extremely hateful look Derek shot over the table at him, he amended the comment with a laugh, "An' he doesn't usually bite until he gets t'know ya better."

Alex couldn't helping laughing at that comment and the entire room's atmosphere seemed to lighten up. Derek set aside his mistrust and continued opening the crates and carefully removing the wrapped objects. After everything had been removed from their boxes, Nick and Monica moved the empty containers to a corner of the room and Derek and Alex each carefully began to unwrap the items.

"Is there a manifest or inventory listing with these items?" Derek inquired of Monica, all hostility and suspicion placed aside for the time being. "Is there anything that details what we have here?"

"No," Monica answered. "Everything that was found at the dig was carefully wrapped and then placed into the shipping crates." She watched with awe (and a little fear!) as each item was carefully unwrapped and positioned in the center of the Library's long table. She could feel an overwhelming sense of evil permeating throughout the room and couldn't quite tell which object was radiating such a force. She silently prayed again that God would continue to strengthen her!

Just then, the Library doors swung open with a bang. Monica jumped and Rachel noticed not only the stranger, but the reaction of the stranger. Looking quickly at her three comrades, she approached Monica with her hand out. She had to juggle the volume of books she was carrying, but took Monica's hand in a friendly gesture. "Hello. I'm Dr. Rachel Corrigan; I'm sorry if I frightened you. My arms are loaded and I had trouble with the door."

"That's quite alright," Monica answered, already starting to calm. 'Tess didn't tell me about you', she thought to herself. "I'm Monica. I'm an architect with the construction group that found these antiques. I'm afraid I'm the one that's a bit of a surprise to everyone! An' ya didn't really frighten me ... well, not much anyway. I was just so engrossed in these objects. They seem a little frightening t'me somehow."

Derek picked up on this connotation quickly for he too had felt an evil and dark presence upon unwrapping these artifacts. "Perhaps you should go lie down," Derek suggested to Monica, hoping for some time alone with Rachel, Alex, Nick and the relics. "You've had a hard trip and not received too friendly of a welcome ... at least not from me. I could have Mitchell bring you a hot cup of tea if you'd like."

Monica likewise had wanted to be alone -- hoping to talk to Tess and find out more about Dr. Rachel Corrigan and what her story might be. She jumped at the suggestion, saying, "I think that would be a good idea. I'm a bit more tired ... and jumpy ... than I thought I'd be; an' I'd love a good, hot cup o'tea. Thank you." She left the room quickly and headed to her room for a private chat with Tess.

The moment she was out of sight, Rachel quickly inquired, "Who was that? She seemed friendly whoever she is."

Before Derek could give "his" assessment of Monica, Nick quickly answered, "She told you ... she's an architect who got stuck with babysitting these old relics for her construction company. That's it!"

"Hey," Rachel said, defensively, "I was only asking. What's wrong with you?"

"I'm afraid it's my fault," Derek answered. "I was thrown off by Monica's presence and I was a little ... rude. Nick here feels it's his job to defend her." He watched as the younger man walked over and plopped himself beside the antiques on the table. "And," Derek continued, "he's right. We have no reason to suspect Monica is anything other than she seems. If it means that she'll be watching our investigation, I suppose it will have to be alright. So, let's just get to work and find out what we can about these objects."

"But," Rachel continued, "if you're going to be researching them from the angle of 'supernatural' involvement, how are you gonna keep that from her?"

"Why should we have to?" Nick asked, his anger clearly rising. "I mean, we don't have to announce that we're 'ghostbusters' or anything, but we shouldn't have to lie about the possibility of something ... 'un-natural' ... should we?!"

Alex could tell that a dangerous infusion between Rachel and Nick was about to incur and quickly interrupted. "Well, first, I suggest we examine these objects before we decide if there is -- or isn't -- anything 'supernatural' connected to them. We can worry about what we tell or show Monica later.

"I agree," Derek said, once again grateful to Alex for her wonderful perceptions. "Let's get started, shall we?"

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

"Oh, Tess," Monica exclaimed upon seeing her angelic mentor and friend, "are ya sure that I'm the right angel for this case? I felt such an evil presence downstairs. It truly frightened me, Tess! I know that God'll protect me -- and the people of this House -- but I'm just so afraid fer 'em. They have no idea what they're dealin' with down there, do they?"

"No," Tess answered slowly, "they don't. They've handled many cases that they think are similar to this case; but they don't comprehend the evil that remains in those relics from the Reverend McIntyre ... or the threat he poses to this House."

"They're in danger, aren't they, Tess?" Monica said, already knowing the answer. She watched as Tess nodded her head. "But how am I t'help 'em? What should I do? Stop 'em from doin' the investigation??"

"You can't do that," Tess replied, emphatically. "They've dealt with Satan and his demons head-on too many times to be put off by another bout with evil. But they are in danger, Monica. And it's your job to guide them -- not stop them."

"But ...." Monica began.

"But nothing, Miss Wings," Tess said, a little more forcefully this time. "Those people downstairs are gonna need a whole lotta angelic guidance, courage and strength to face what lies ahead fer them. You just need to stick as close to 'em -- and those relics -- as you can. God'll tell you what to do and what to say and when to do or say it. Just keep turnin' to Him."

Monica already began to feel God's strength and peace flood over her and she asked, more calmly this time, "But where's Raphael? I thought he was suppose t'be helpin' on this case?"

"He is," Tess replied. "There's another member of the team -- a Father Philip Callaghan -- that Raphael is to contact and 'inspire' to come and help his friends. He'll be needed to ...."

"A priest?" Monica interrupted, clearly shocked. "A man o'God is a member of this 'Legacy'?!"

"Most o'the time he is," Tess replied. "He just gets torn sometimes -- as most humans do! -- on how to serve God best! Anyway, one of Raphael's jobs is to get him here to help his friends."

"An' what about this Dr. Rachel Corrigan? What's her story? I got the feeling that she doesn't like me verra much. Does she live here too?"

"No; in fact, if it were up to Dr. Corrigan, she wouldn't even be a part of the Legacy," Tess answered. "God's havin' a lotta trouble with that one, Monica. You might need to keep a close on her. You see, he wants her to help these other members of the Legacy; but the closest bond she feels to them is through her 9-year-old daughter, Katherine."

Monica became momentarily troubled at the thought of a child being in danger -- exposed to the evil radiating from the objects in the Library below -- and quickly asked, "Is she gonna be a part of this, Tess?"

"Well," Tess replied slowly, "that's not exactly clear yet, Baby. But, there's no need to worry about Katherine. She's a very gifted child; not only has God given her the gift of Sight, but she also is a very loving and intelligent person. She should be just fine."

Monica could tell there was something that Tess was withholding. On a case this difficult, she decided to do what she rarely ever did -- push Tess. "But," she started, "there is somethin' yer not tellin' me ... isn't there? Some kind a danger?"

There was so much that Tess herself didn't know yet for, when dealing with humans, the situation could change so quickly, that she just sighed and answered with her heart, "Just watch out for Nick, Monica," she said. "That's a young man who can always use an angel to watch over him."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Alex, Derek and Rachel were each carefully examining and scrapping off pieces of material from the artifacts spread out on the table. These scrapings would later be used to carbon-date time period the objects actually came from. Although Nick had helped a little in the unwrapping and basic inspection of the items, he was quickly getting "bored" of the tedious handling the relics required.

Although he was deep in thought and research over the goblet that he held in his hand, Derek could sense the restlessness of his younger associate. He placed the item down and turned to Nick, saying, "Well, we have this part of the investigation pretty much under control. Why don't you go back to the Control Room and continue Alex's research on Reverend McIntyre's colony?"

Grateful for a chance to escape the mundane needling and inspecting of the items on the table, Nick hopped off his seated place on the table and said, "Sure thing, Boss." He quickly exited the room and both Alex and Rachel let out a sigh of relief.

Derek turned to them and smiled. It was clear to him that obviously he was not the only one in the room who could tell that Nick was getting "bored". He smiled at his two female associates and continued gently probing the goblet for any clues of it's origin.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Philip was just about to exit the confessional of St. Mark's Parish -- where he had been working as one of three priests to minister "to the flock" -- in a small town just south of San Francisco, when he heard the entry door on the other side open and close. 'Ah, another one,' he thought to himself, as he re-adjusted his garb and opened the door between the two booths.

He waited several moments for the "parishioner" or visitor to begin the incantations of the confessional; when nothing was said, he asked, "How can I help you, my Child?"

"I'm here to help you, Father," the young, Latino voice answered.

"Are ya now?" Philip said, with laughter in his voice. His mind immediately flashed on Nick as he thought of this young man's "bravado". "An' how are ya gonna do that, my Son?"

"By giving you a message ... from God," the voice answered again. Suddenly, a blinding, brilliant light shone on the other side of the confessional door and Philip could see the young man inside. Feeling a moment of fear -- unsure of what was transpiring -- Philip quickly "crossed" himself and muttered "Dear God".

"Yes ... He is," the young man responded. "My name is Raphael, and I'm an angel. God has sent me here to advise you, Philip. He wants you to leave this Parish and return -- at least for the time being -- to The Legacy. Your friends need you now more than ever and God wants you to join them ... to help them."

Philip's mind whirled with the words that Raphael was saying. So often, Philip felt torn between his duties to the Legacy and his responsibilities to the Church. Now, at last, here was an angel -- an actual angel -- sent by God telling him what to do. He didn't know whether he should fall to his knees to thank the Lord for the direction or continue to question this saintly apparition.

Deciding for him, Raphael stated, "You won't remember this visit after I've left, Father; but, you must heed my suggestion. Your friends need you and you must help them, be strong for them, and guide them in the way they should go. This is what God wishes of you, my Brother."

The light quickly faded and Philip found himself sitting alone in the confessional. He shook his head trying to clear it. 'I must be more tired then I realized,' he thought. 'I've gone and fallen asleep in the confessional!' He exited it and began to head for the Parish office. He knew that the timing would make the other two priests he was working with unhappy, but something in his mind -- and in his heart! -- told him it was time to return to the Legacy!

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

Several hours later, Nick again felt bored. He could find nothing new on Reverend McIntyre's cult or colony. 'Once again, Alex did her usual brilliant job of researching,' he thought, a little bitterly. 'So, what exactly am I suppose to do?!' He printed out the material that she had run out of time to print, and gathered everything together. He had highlighted several sections he thought might be of interest, and decided to go back to the Library to see how the others were getting on.

Just before entering the Library, he saw Monica, who was leaving the kitchen. "Hey," he called to her, "raiding the fridge already?!" He laughed at her puzzled expression. "Just kidding," he added as he approached her. "How ya doin'? Feeling any better?"

"Oh yes," Monica replied with a smile. "Much." She noted the file folder that Nick was carrying and curiosity got the best of her as she asked, "An' what have you been up to?"

He noticed her looking at the file and quickly shifted it a little. He knew that Derek would have a fit if she knew too much about their "investigation" techniques. But, there was something ... something so warm and so honest ... in her smile that Nick at once felt at ease and answered, "This is a file of material we've researched on where we think these artifacts are from. I was just gonna head into the Library and see how the rest of the group was doin'."

"Well, then," Monica stated, "I guess I'll be join' ya then."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

While Nick had been research the computer's databanks for anything on Reverend McIntyre, Alex, Derek and Rachel had continued their inspection of the items that laid before them. During the hours they were engrossed, they found themselves feeling a little uneasy with each item they inspected. Derek and Alex had had a conversation regarding this and had concluded that these items definitely had some kind of unnatural ... or supernatural ... force connected to them.

All three turned when Monica and Nick entered the room. "How's it goin?" Nick asked, noting the pained expressions on his associate's faces. "Comin' up empty?"

"On the contrary," Alex answered, "I think we can definitely conclude that these objects are connected to ...." she paused, not wanting to mention Reverend McIntyre's name in Monica's presence -- at least not before verifying with Derek whether it would be acceptable or not.

Monica noted the strain in the Legacy members and decided to take a definitive step to "stir things up a bit" ... she spoke up, inquiring, "Then, are ya sayin' that these relics are from the old colony run by Reverend Samuel McIntyre?"

Every face turned towards Monica, stunned! Immediately, Derek jumped to the conclusion that Nick must have let Monica in on what they were investigating. He turned toward the young man and angrily snapped, "Nick! Exactly what were you thinking ...."

Monica could see what was happening and quickly interrupted, "Dr. Rayne, Nick didn't tell me anythin'. I've known since the beginning of m'trip that these items might've belonged to the Reverend's colony. I didn't think it was some kinda secret."

"Do you mind telling me how you've known that?" Derek inquired, momentarily forgetting his accusation of Nick.

Monica cleared her throat and began to wonder if her decision to "stir things up a bit" had been a wise one. "I've always been a bit of a history buff, you might say," she answered. "Naturally, when I learned at the last minute I'd be takin' the trip with these artifacts, I grabbed some books on the area and did a little research o'my own on the train trip. Nick didn't tell me anythin', Dr. Rayne. I didn't mean t'be causin' an argument amongst yer staff."

Derek felt a little ashamed; he had jumped to the conclusion that Nick had shared private "Legacy" information with Monica. He turned toward the young man now and said, "Nick ... I'm sorry. I did jump to the wrong conclusion."

Nick had shoved his hands in his blue jeans pocket during the course of the conversations. He kept them there, balled into fists, as he answered, "Forget it." in a tone that clearly indicated he wouldn't be -- at least not for a while.

Alex had also felt a wave of guilt; not only had it been her conversation that had started this whole "discussion", but she, too, had assumed that Nick had shared confidential information with the beautiful and captivating stranger. She continued her previous comments, hoping to lighten the mood, "Well, you're right, Monica. We can pretty much determine that these relics are from Reverend McIntyre's colony. The only thing we need to do to verify this, is a carbon dating test on the shavings we've gathered."

Nick took his hands out of his pocket, strode across the room, gathered the fragments and exited saying, "I'm on it." No one tried to stop or interrupt him, recognizing his need to be alone. Only Rachel felt that "being alone" was the last thing Nick needed and so she followed him, explaining to the others that she would assist him.

Monica turned toward Derek and Alex and said, "I'm terribly sorry; I seem t'be causin' a great deal o'trouble here. I only meant to ...."

"It's not you, Monica," Alex said gently as she walked over and briefly touched the angel on the arm. Immediately, she felt a warm, wonderful sensation vibrate off the young woman. She smiled at her and continued, "Really ... it's not you're fault. Sometimes we just get a little caught up with what we're doing and we don't always take time to consider one another's feelings during our research. I'm sorry if we've made you feel unwelcome."

"Not at all," Monica stated, knowing that an angel sent by God would never be unwelcome anywhere. "But, since I am here and I do so enjoy historical research, I'd love t'be helpin' ya in any way that I can."

"Well," Derek stated, authoritatively, "I'll keep that in mind. I'm sure we can find some way for you to help us. But, for now, I think we should all let this go for the rest of the evening and enjoy a nice, quiet dinner. Shall we?"

The three exited the Library and Derek turned off the lights. None of them were aware that one of the items -- the one that appeared to be an old book or manuscript of some sort -- had begun to glow.

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

After a meal that was consumed mainly in silence -- due in part to Nick's bad mood and Derek and Alex's guilty feeling -- everyone went their separate ways to their own rooms. Alex and Nick split the "McIntyre" file between them in order to re-read the information that had been gathered. Rachel left, stating that she would be back first thing in the morning to continue the investigation of the artifacts. Monica retired to the quiet solitude of her room.

After checking the premise over quickly, Derek also retired to his room for the night. All throughout dinner, he had a sensation of foreboding; he had dismissed it as his own guilty feelings over his accusation of Nick and Nick's subsequent bad mood. However, the feeling seemed to linger and grow stronger as the night passed.

As Derek finally began to drift off to sleep that evening, a thought occurred to him which woke him right up ... the image of the beautiful, young woman he had had the previous evening -- the one that included Alex in pain and Nick storming out of the library -- the vision that had so disturbed him when he had started to place his call to Rachel ... it was Monica he had seen! The unease that gripped his heart and soul and made his blood now run cold within him. He rose to take one more precautionary look at the security cameras located in the Control Room. Only slightly appeased, he headed to the kitchen to make himself a strong, hot cup of coffee; he quickly realized that sleep would be impossible now!

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

When Monica had retired to her room, she quickly reached inside the "bags" that had accompanied her. To her delight, they did contain several historical books and she opened each one scanning for information on Reverend McIntyre's settlement. She finally found it in the oldest of the volumes and she got into the soft, comfortable bed as she read the historical known about the Reverend and his followers. She was particularly interested in reading the end of the colony. A chill came over her as she read:

"In the end, little is known about what really happened to the missing settlers from the nearby villages and whether or not Reverend McIntyre and his disciples really were in league with the Devil himself; however, the settlers in the surrounding colonies at that time certainly believed that the "Devil Camp" (as it was called) was responsible for the disappearances.

It was recorded in various diaries that they decided to take matters into their own hands. The village leaders from five of the surrounding colonies, chose several representatives to assist them in their own dark deeds. On the evening of December 19th, just six short days before the celebration of the Messiah's birth, the men from these five colonies surrounded Reverend McIntyre's group.

What happened then is a mystery. The recorded reports claim that the McIntyre settlement was ready for such an attack and that they attacked back, killing eight of the assailants before themselves perishing in a raging five. It was reported that a Catholic Priest from one of the settlements -- Father Michael Murphy -- himself was the man to kill and curse Reverend Samuel McIntyre. As the village went up in flames, he was reported to have shouted .... "May the fires of Hell consume you're Souls and may you forever perish for the evil you have done. May this ground always be cursed with the blood from your sin-filled bodies and you be condemned forever to pay for the crimes against God that you have committed."

The words from the book echoed in Monica's mind -- and heart -- and she placed the book down, unable to read any more right now. Her mind started to drift to the young man down the hall ... Nick. She felt terrible that her instincts earlier had backfired and ended up hurting him.

"But they didn't really backfire, did they?" she heard a familiar voice say. She looked to the corner of the room and relief and happiness flooded over her -- it was Andrew! He crossed to the bed and sat down at the foot of it as Monica sat up. "Thought you could use a friend right now," Andrew said as he smiled at Monica.

"Oh, Andrew," Monica exclaimed, "I'm so glad t'see you! Are ya gonna be stickin' around a bit, or did ya just stop by t'try an' cheer me up."

"A little of both," he answered. "I've been put on stand-by on this case."

"As a case worker ... or as the Angel of Death?" Monica inquired, not sure she wanted to hear the answer. She had come to care about those she had met today and was concerned for their well-being ... and their souls!

Continued on the next page...