End of Innocence by sHolmes

    "Philip, are you ready yet? The jet leaves in an hour, with or without
us," Derek yelled up the main stairs.

Philip appeared at the top of the stairs, "I'm here, Derek, I'm done
packin'. But I don' see why I'm th' one goin', Alex would 'a' made a
much better choice than me t' go t' Kansas City." Philip walked down the
stairs slowly. In his arms were a battered travel suitcase and a
carry-on bag.

"I picked you for my assistant, Philip, because Alex and Nick are in
Sacramento on assignment, Rachel can't leave Kat alone for a whole week,
and besides, we both need a vacation. This convention gives us a chance
to unwind and relax."

"You?? THE Doctor Rayne?! Relax? Isn'a there a universal law somewhere
statin' how ye canna relax?" Philip smirked in mock horror.

"Well, it really isn't going to be much of a vacation if we don't start
leaving." Derek replied, picking up his own bags.

Suddenly, Derek's mobile phone rang. Sighing, he dropped his bags, and
dug into his inside coat pocket. He pulled out his Motorola cellular
phone, and flipped it on. "Luna Foundation. This is Derek Rayne."


"Kat?! Is everything all right? Shouldn't you be at school?" Derek

"I- I am. Well, sort of. I'm at a pay phone across the street. It's
lunchtime recess. Just listen, okay? I have to talk fast. Mom told me
about your trip to Kansas City this morning on the way to school. I have
this bad, feeling that something's going to happen. Just be careful,
okay? I've gotta go now." click

"Kat?" Derek spoke into his phone. After the dial tone clicked on, Derek
turned the phone off. "She's gone."

"Should we go t' her ? She wouldn' call unless t'was an emergency."
Philip stated.

"Yes, I know. Her school is on the way to the airport, we'll stop by
just to make sure." Derek replied, while dialing the airport from his

* * *

"This is highly irregular, Dr. Rayne. We usually don't allow visitors to
meet with our pupils during school time without parental permission
first. However, since the Luna Foundation is a very prestigious and
revered institution-"

"Miss Pruitt, may we please see the child for just one moment? As it is,
we're running late for a very important flight to Kansas City. Official
Luna Foundation business, you know." Derek used the most professional
voice that he could muster.

The head principal frowned. "Yes, of course. Dr. Rayne, Father, this
way, please? The dour lady led them down a side hallway. "With the
fiasco of her leaving school grounds, Miss Corrigan has been sent to the
'Solitude' for the remainder of the week. She is to be in solitary
detention with extra homework. Her mother was notified, of course, but,
unfortunately, was detained at work."

They stopped in front of a large, oak door with an old-fashioned
keyhole. The head principal took out a key and opened the door. It
squealed horribly, and both Derek and Philip flinched at the sound. They
walked inside to a small, claustrophobic room with bad lighting, and
found Kat sitting in an old-fashioned desk that faced the opposite wall.
She was writing furiously in a notebook.

"Ahem," Miss Pruitt coughed. Kat continued writing. The head principal
looked embarrassedly at Derek and Philip.

"Miss Corrigan, kindly refrain from being rude to your guests. It is not
very often that we allow behaved girls receive visitors during school
hours, let alone trouble-makers."

The girl looked up suddenly, noticing the other people in the room for
the first time. She stood up and turned toward the three. Her eyes shone
when she saw Derek and Philip, but she merely stood still. "Miss Pruitt,
Dr. Rayne, Fr. Philip," she acknowledged.

"Miss Corrigan, are you quite finished with your homework?" The girl
nodded that she had. "Well, you may take a break." Miss Pruitt pointed
at Derek and Philip. "Are these men friends of yours?"

"Yes, miss. My mother works with them from time to time."

"On what?"

"Miss Pruitt, if we may?" Derek interrupted. "We have that flight to

Her eyes narrowed. "Yes, of course. You may have five minutes with the
girl, then Katherine must return to her studies. I have some school
business I must attend to, but I'll return to show you the way out." The
thin older woman left the closet-like room, closing the door behind her.

Derek went to the girl. "Kat, are you okay? Why did you contact us like

She scrunched up into tiny ball. "I- I Saw something today, during
lunch. I had to tell you about, it."

"What did you see?" Derek asked.
She started to pace the tiny room, "Do you know how hard it is to conju-
conjugate Latin verbs with active and passive infinitives?"

"Kat, please." Philip leaned against the wall. "Tell us what ye saw,
gettin' it out in th' open really helps. Nothin' bad is goin' t' ye… or
us." Philip looked at the shivering girl. "Are ye cold, Kat?" he asked.
When she nodded her head, Philip took off his clerical coat and draped
over the girl's shoulders.

"I Saw- candles."

"Is that all ye saw, darlin'?"

"No," the girl whispered. She started to sob. "I Saw- I Saw candles,
and- and- and…"

"Calm down, Katherine. We're here." Derek cradled the girl in his arms.

"There, there, little one. We won' let anythin' bad happen t'ye." Philip
reassured her.

Instantly, she started to hyperventilate, "I've gotta- I've gotta- I've

Derek pulled her away from himself, looking in her eyes. "Katherine, I
order you to calm down immediately." She stopped abruptly, and returned
the stare.

"I saw big, thick candles, and children lying on little beds. I saw
statues moving, except they looked almost alive, but not quite. Then I
saw you, Derek. You were one of the people, and you were carrying a
knife. You wore a big cloak that covered your entire body. You turned
towards me suddenly… That's when I noticed your eyes. They were dull,
off-color somehow." Kat's chin started to tremble. Derek sat on top of
the desk, pulling the terrified girl onto his lap. Kat leaned her head
back onto Derek's chest, taking comfort in the elder man's calmness.
Derek could feel the little girl's heart pounding through her tense

She continued telling them about her Vision. "You turned back around and
started to walk toward the little boy named, named Gabriel. The knife
glinted in the candlelight. It looked gold-like, but I'm not sure. You
r-raised the knife above your head. I tried to scream to you, Derek, I
really tried, but my mouth felt like it had a sock in it. You started to
chant softly, I don't know what it was you said, but it scared me again.
I looked down at the little boy again, but he didn't notice me either.
He just lied there, not moving, not breathing. That's when I noticed his
eyes. They looked like-like yours. He turned his head slightly, and he
looked at me. I tried to run, but I couldn't- I couldn't even turn my
head. All I could do was watch. The knife fell suddenly, and glinted
once more. It glinted again, blinding me. All of a sudden, I could move.
I looked down at my lunch tray. My friends were laughing at a, at a

The girl snuggled up against Derek's neck. "Oh, Katherine." He hugged
her tightly. "I am so sorry that you had to go through that."
Philip knelt beside the still sobbing girl. "It's alright, Kat. Nothin'
bad is goin' t' happen. I promise ye this."

*BOOM* The oak door slammed against the wall, startling all three. Miss
Pruitt marched into the tiny room. "What is going on in here?!! I leave
this room for five minutes, and when I come back, I find Miss Corrigan
sobbing on your lap, Dr. Rayne!"

The sudden increase in light blinded all three for a moment, but Derek
quickly composed himself again. "Miss Pruitt," he stood up, "this child
has been through a very traumatic experience, and has probably been in a
state of shock since lunchtime. If you had been doing your job, instead
of trying to score 'brownie-points' with the good father and myself,
this never would have happened. Instead, you condoned and leaving school
grounds in punished this brave little girl for no other reason than
leaving school grounds! You should be ashamed of yourself, and beg
forgiveness to this girl, her mother, and any other person you have so
wrongly tortured in this fashion!! You are not fit to be a custodian at
this school!

"And would you like to know why she did it? She did it to find out if we
were all right. Katherine here has a unique gift that you have no
comprehension of understanding."

The elder woman's colorless face turned a beet-red. "Are you quite done,
Dr. Rayne?"

"No, I am not. Your are a spiteful, cruel woman. I have seen much evil
in the world, much more than you could ever hope to imagine in fact, but
you, you, madam, rank right there with the most vilest, the most

"Derek," Philip whispered, touching his precept's arm.

"What??" Derek growled.

"Philip pointed back to the open door. Derek slowly spun around to see a
dozen girls wearing plaid jumpers and berets, The elder girls were
giggling, and pointing at Philip, while the younger ones were almost
crying at Derek's outburst. When they saw Miss Pruitt glare at them,
they took off in different directions.

"Dr. Rayne," Miss Pruitt said icily. "I have been headmistress at this
school for twenty-two years, and in that time I have never been treated
so rudely and discourteously. I realize that I run a strict discipline
here, but the girls who graduate here are the creme of society. They are
taught discipline, etiquette, and the sciences. They are taught how to
survive in today's world."

Derek's temper burst, "They are taught to be dependent on other people,
mainly husbands. They are taught everything of "Society" and nothing of
real life. You teach them be shallow and doll-like, and that they are
nothing more than show horses put on display for everyone to admire. My
Got!!! Get out or the damn 19th century!!! Women and girls are much more
capable than you realize." Derek yelled at the top of his lungs.

The head mistress became still. "I'll not have my teaching and
administrative skills questioned by in my school. Now get out, and take
this little 'brat' with you. She has been expelled from this school for
as long as I'm in charge. I do not want to see you or any other Luna
Foundation members on these premises or, God help me, they will be
jailed for trespassing. You have five minutes to gather her belongings
and leave, before I call security and have you forcefully thrown out."

"Miss Pruitt-" Derek began.

"Derek, let it go. We canna do anythin' about it, an' ye'll only make
thin's worse," Philip stated, as he led the two out the door. Suddenly,
Philip turned back to the head mistress. "Miss Pruitt, we will comply t'
yer wishes, an' leave in ten minutes. However, I suggest that ye review
yer teachin' methods. The next time ye this sort- a'- thin' t' a girl,
ye might not be so lucky as to get someone as, forgivin' as maself."

Philip and the others strode out into the outer hall, shutting the door
closed on the still fuming Miss Pruitt.

* * *

"What the HELL did you think you were doing, Derek?" Rachel yelled at
the three in her office. "Did it even occur to you to call me? You just
went off to Kat's school, demanded to see her, and then accused the
principal of being too strict. This is too much! This is just TOO
MUCH!!! And you, Philip. You let him do this. Do you realize how much I
put into getting Kat into that school? How many strings I pulled, favors
I asked? And for what? Kat, what did you think you were doing, going off
school property like that. Do you know how many people out there want to
hurt you? Even kill you???" Kat hid behind Philip, too ashamed to look
up at her mother.

Derek looked at the raving psychiatrist calmly, "Rachel, you're not
thinking clearly. Kat called us today, just as we were about to leave
for Kansas City. She snuck off grounds because she a had a very
disturbing Vision... about me. She called to make sure that we, I was
alright. However, she was very brief, and we were worried about her, We
found at that school in a linen closet conjugating Latin verbs. That was
her punishment: solitary confinement, like a common criminal. She was in
shock from the Vision, and they did NOTHING!!!!"

"Derek, that's enough." Philip said abruptly. "Rachel is not the one
t'blame. It's over, an' done with."

Kat peeked out from around Philip innocently. "Don't be angry, mommy."

Rachel stared into her only daughter's pleading, blue eyes. "C'mere
baby. I'm not angry with you, I'm just, frustrated at the whole
situation. You know what I mean, don't you?" Rachel knelt on her knees,
waiting for her daughter's answer.

Kat looked at her mother, then at Derek and Philip. Instantly, she was
in her mother's arms, hugging her with all her might.

Philip watched mother and child for a moment, then broke the silence.
"Derek, we need t'be leavin' soon if we want t'make our next flight."
The priest stated softly. "I've already had t'cancel two nonrefundable
tickets, an' I don' think our credit card will let us buy any more."

Derek checked his watch once, then looked back at the two. "Philip's
right, Rachel. I am sorry I got Kat thrown out of that school, okay
maybe not that sorry" Derek laughed, as he saw the look on Rachel's
face. "Well, I am sorry that we have to cut this reunion so short, but
we do have that jet to catch."

"Yes, of course. I need to take Kat home anyway. See you in a week."
Rachel smiled as she led the others out and locked up her office.down a
side hallway.

Chapter 1

Derek and Philip pulled up to an ultra-modern, high-rise skyscraper.
They got out of their rented Nissan, courtesy of the Luna Foundation,
and pulled out their luggage. They looked up at the twenty-story steeled
colored glass and dark marble building. It was dwarfed, however, by the
rest of the Kansas City skyline.

They approached the revolving doors, which on the right side had a
modest "Luna Foundation" brass plaque, and stopped in front of the
doorman, who stood on the left. He carded both of them for their Luna
Foundation photo ID cards, which also had their fingerprints, bar code,
dental records, and personal history carried on a microchip. The
doorman checked each ID twice, then scanned their thumbs with a portable
scanner. They both passed. The doorman finally smiled at them and let
them enter through the tinted, revolving doors.

The room they entered was a spacious lobby that boasted walnut tables
with flower vases on them, and burgundy chairs and couches. It gave both
men the feeling of being in a hotel lobby.

Out of nowhere, a forty-ish blonde-haired, short woman appeared before
them. She smiled brightly at both men, "Hello, Dr. Rayne, Fr. Callahan,
and welcome to the Kansas City Legacy House. I'm Elizabeth Michaels,
Daniel Cooper's assistant. I've been assigned to show you around and get
you acquainted to the new precepts since you missed the orientation
meeting. Here you need to sign in." Elizabeth handed Derek a big,
leather-bound book with an 'L' on it. The two signed their names, then
followed the assistant to the elevators. They got in, and Elizabeth
pushed the 14th floor button.

"This place is very big for a Legacy House." Philip observed.

"Yeah, about a year ago, the original House was destroyed in a freak
tornado and fire." Elizabeth explained. "Instead of rebuilding, we
decided to buy this place. The original owners went bankrupt, so we
bought it cheap. It serves our purposes. Anyway, this building was one
of the deciding factors to hold the convention here. We're all pretty
proud of it." She beamed. The elevator doors dinged open, and the three
walked out into a well-lit hallway. They turned left, and passed four
closed doors. They stopped in front of a door with a card-key lock.

"We converted most of the business offices into bedrooms. They are
basically all the same, with only a few decorating differences. May I
have your card, Dr. Rayne?" she asked. Derek handed her his ID card, and
she swiped it through the lock. The door popped open. "The locks have
been adapted to your cards. This Philip's suite, and Dr. Rayne's is on
the other side. Well, this is where I leave you two. Dinner is at 7 PM
in the main banquet hall. If you need anything, just call me on the
phone." She started back to the elevators then turned around suddenly.
"Also, Derek. Daniel wants to see you as soon as possible." She walked
into the open elevator, while Derek and Philip entered their respective

* * *

Derek entered his room, and dropped his bags hard. His eyes rolled up in
annoyance as he took note of the decor. Blue and yellow. Those were the
two colors that had dominated the room, and destroyed any other
noticeable color. The pictures on the wall were prints of Van Gogh's
"Sunflowers" and "A Starry Night". The black poster bed had a plain blue
down comforter pulled down to reveal pale yellow sheets beneath. An
exasperated Derek picked up his bags again, and threw them on the bed,
watching them bounce up and off the bed comically.
Derek walked to the blue curtains and pulled them back. He stared at the
tinted horizon for a few minutes, then entered the adjoining bathroom.
He turned on the tub full-blast, letting the steam billow up toward the
ceiling. After a minute, he turned back to the windows, and watched the
miniature people and cars go about their business.

"They're so naive, aren't they?"

Derek spun around suddenly, and saw a tall, blonde bearded man standing
in front of his door.

"They're so naive. Aren't they, Derek?" The man repeated. "I mean, they
go about their business, day-in, day-out, without any thought as to the
real reason of the Luna Foundation. They look up at the building, read
the plaque, and then assume that all we do is waste money restoring
musty old antiques that have no practical use outside of taking up space
and gathering dust. Oh sure, a few might have a clue, but, after a
while, whispers die and rumors disappear. So the people forget about the
lies, the conspiracies and go back to their normal, mundane existence."
The man smiled ferally. "I really wish you hadn't missed the orientation
meeting, Derek. It was- thought provoking."

Derek walked to the man, and gave him a brotherly hug. "Hello, Daniel.
I'm, sorry about that. There was an emergency that we had to tend to
before we could leave.

Daniel smiled. "It's been too long."

"Yes, it has been too long, Daniel. I'm hoping we can get caught up
since the- accident." Derek replied , walking towards the bathroom.
Instantly, the bearded man raised his hand up, and blew metallic dust
onto Derek. Derek's face contorted into a mask of pure horror and
betrayal. "Wh- Why?" He whispered as his knees buckled. Daniel caught
his one-time friend carefully, and laid him on the bed. "Yes, Derek,
it's been too long. But don't worry. You're just going to take a little
nap, and then you'll forgot all about our 'little conversation'." Daniel
said, as Derek tried to sit up. "Don't fight it, Derek. This particular
binding spell is one of the most powerful, and the beauty of it is that
it is dormant until needed further-"
Derek's eyes closed halfway, then abruptly stopped. They grew dimmer, a
dull, uncolor. His consciousness grew into a type of tunnel vision, then
slowly faded away. The last thing Derek Rayne saw was Daniel Cooper
looking him in the eyes, a melancholy smile on his lips.

Chapter 2

Philip walked out of his room, worried about his missing precept. Derek
had told him to meet him at four, but it was now closing in on five
fifteen. A little worried, Philip knocked quietly on Derek's door. When
nothing happened, Philip began pounding on the door.
"Derek," he yelled, "Are ye well?"

Suddenly, the door opened a crack. Philip saw Derek's profile for a
split second, then the door slammed in his face. Puzzled, the priest
listened as a chain slid across its lock. The door swung open again to
reveal Derek sitting in one of the chairs by the door. Derek looked up
at Philip bleary-eyed.

Good God, Derek. Ye look like Hell." The priest exclaimed as he took
note of Derek's pale skin and blood-shot eyes.

The precept rested his head on his hands tiredly. "I feel like it. It's
funny, as soon as I saw the bed, I just laid down on it and closed my
eyes," he replied.

Philip felt the side of Derek's face. "Well, ye don' feel hot, Maybe ye
should just skip dinner an' just sleep."

"No, we've already missed too much as it is." Derek stood up. "Just give
me five minutes to get ready."

The priest nodded slowly, then left the room. Derek turned around and
headed for his still-packed luggage. He pulled out a some-what wrinkled
grey suit, and put it on.

Afterwards, he went into the bathroom, and started to brush his teeth
with a complimentary toothbrush. In the mirror, he noticed the
half-filled tub. Pondering its fullness, he let the water out. Suddenly,
he remember the time, and forgot all about it. He went back to getting
ready, and ten minutes later, left with Philip to the banquet hall.

* * *

"Dear Friends and Family of the Legacy, welcome to the first dinner of
the ten-year convention. We hope you have a good time, and enjoy
tonight's dinner. After dinner, we are going to have a small reception
in the ballroom and garden. Relax, get to know the new precepts. And,
remember people, hazing went out with the Seventies like disco and
bell-bottoms. You are respected Legacy precepts and assistants. Now you
all had that speech during the initiation, so let's get on with the
finer things of life. And, no Nicholas, I do not mean that particular
pleasure." The crowd laughed, as a curly blonde, 30ish man looked
innocently back at Daniel Cooper. "As I was saying, we had a hard time
deciding to choose what to do for dinner of the first night, so we
decided to go regional. Kansas-City strip, Iowa corn -on-the-cob, Kansas
whole-wheat rolls, Idaho green-beans and potatoes, Florida citrus fruit
salad, and, for desert, your choice of apple pie a la mode or Baked
Alaska." Huge carts rolled to the different tables, as Cooper gave his
speech. The food was quickly passed out, the drinks were poured, and the
noise level quickly rose.

Philip found himself in heated debate over whether women should be
allowed in the priest-hood with Fr. Luke Alexi, Precept of the Concord
House, while Derek was discussing the good and bad aspects of being
psychic with Dr. Lewong Ying and Dr. Irene Astor. Instantly, the
convention's host walked up to Derek and Philip.

"Hello Derek, Fr. Philip, Fr. Alexi. Would you mind if I borrowed Derek
for a moment? We have some catching up to do, and I'm afraid we might
not get another moment." Cooper smiled at everyone.

"Go right ahead, Daniel." Philip replied. "This is yer party, after

"I don't know, Daniel. Irene and Lewong and I were in the middle of a
conversation." Derek felt a little uncomfortable talking to his old

"Go, Derek. Lewong and I were just about to start telling really
embarrassing stories anyways. Go, talk to your friend, if you want,"
Irene said, as her eyes' shone mischievously. "We'll get your stories later."

"Really, Daniel, Don't you think that it could wait until after I'm done
eating?" Derek's heart began to pound. Daniel only closed his eyes, and
began to breathe slowly.

Philip instantly noticed an imperceptible change in Derek. What, he
didn't know, but it almost scared him. Derek only smiled slowly,

"Fine, Daniel, I'll come." He threw his napkin on his plate, and stood
up. "Now, if the rest of you will excuse me..." Philip watched the two
go out of the room. After a minute, he decided to talk Sloan after

* * *

"Well, Derek. How are you?" Daniel asked, walking into an indoor garden.
He looked at the different flowers that adorned the ground and walls.

"I've, been better. I think I may be coming down with something." Derek
looked up at the glass ceiling, and watched the oh-so few stars that
could be seen in Kansas City at night. "Daniel," Derek turned to his
friend. "I don't see why it was so necessary to drag me away from dinner-"

Cooper interrupted him. "You know, Derek, every new generation of the
Legacy is so unprepared. They all believe that their generation is going
o be the 'one generation' without a fallen House. Then when does fall,
everyone is hurt and wonders why and how it happened. Do you realize
that in 3000 years not one generation has gone by without at least one
fallen House. It's completely true, Derek- if you don't believe me, go
check it yourself."

Derek stared at his friend, wondering what was going on. "I believe you,
Daniel. But what does this have to do with taking me here during dinner?"

"Everything!!" Cooper shouted. "Don't you see? If one House falls,
others will be there to destroy it. It's the same if two or three infect
each other. It's a lot harder, but in the end, the good Houses ALWAYS
win. However, if a whole region were to fall, or a whole nation, it just
makes that much easier for Evil to win. The fallen nation can cut
themselves off, discreetly infect neighboring nations, until, finally,
Evil has won.

"What are you getting at, Daniel?" Derek's chest started to constrict,
and he started to wheeze slightly.

"What I am getting at, Derek." Cooper said softly. " Is that all the
precepts and all their assistants of an entire 'continent' are in the
same building, at the same time. If evil were to attack right now, there
would be a good chance it could win, a Hell of a chance." The younger
man took out a black silk pouch out of his pocket. "That is why I want
to ask you, of your own violition, to join me. We now have a better
chance than ever. Join me, Derek, of your own free will. Not many people
have the chance to choose their own destiny. I'm giving you yours on a
silver platter."

The precept suddenly grew tired of the game he and Daniel was playing.
"Join you in what?"

"That is no concern, Derek. I am asking you. Join me as my brother, my
confidant, my partner in equalness in all things." Daniel pleaded.

"You were best man at my wedding. You were Gabriel's god-father, and you
stood by my side at the funeral."

"Partner of what?"

"Power, Derek, real power. Sloan is a fool. He has no concept of what is
possible. I do."

"What kind of power?"

Daniel smiled broadly. "Ah, Derek. Always straight to point. I think you
know what I'm getting at, but you'd rather hear it from me, wouldn't
you? Evil, Derek, evil. I'm asking you to join me in taking over this
continent. It would be more easy than you realize. Join me, I need you.
You were closer to me than a brother once."

Derek's face fell. "Daniel, I-can't. I don't know why you did this, but
I will try everything in my power to help you."

The bearded man shook his head. "I'm truly sorry it's got to be like
this. I'm truly sorry." He discreetly took some dust out of the pouch,
and threw it in Derek's face. Derek started to run for help, but after
two steps he fell down, unconscious. Daniel picked up his friend for the
second time that day, and carried him to his room. He opened Derek's
door, gently laid him on his bed, and left.

After dinner, Philip went in search of Sloan. He'd checked the first two
floors without luck, but ran into Daniel instead. Worried about Derek,
he ran up to the Kansas City precept, and stopped him in the hall. "Mr.
Cooper, have ye seen Derek around?"

Daniel stopped walking, and turned to see Philip running to him. "Ah,
Father Callahan. It's good to see you again. I'm sorry, I meant to tell
you that Derek told me to tell you that he was not feeling well, and was
going to straight to bed."

Philip sighed, "Oh, well thank ye for tellin' me. I've got t'go find a
friend now. Maybe we can get t' together later."

"Maybe, Father, maybe." Daniel smiled. "By the way, who exactly are you
looking for? I might know were they are; I am the precept of this House
after all." The bearded man smiled.

"I'm lookin' for Fr. Alexi. We were goin' t' finish our discussion about
th' pope's new catechism." Philip lied, praying that God would forgive
him for using the Pope in such a matter.

"Well, the last I heard, he was on the fourth floor, enjoying our
brand-new library. Now I must go now. I am sorry, but I have an
important meeting I must attend." Daniel said, walking to the elevators.

Philip nodded back, then surveyed the hallway after Daniel had left. He
stopped a lady in the hall, and asked for Sloan's whereabouts. She
answered that he was on the tenth floor. He thanked her, then headed for
the elevators himself.

Chapter 2

Philip, how are you?" Sloan stood out of his chair, and shook hands with
the priest. Sloan looked at the man once, and quickly knew
Philip had something on his mind. "Father Philip, what's wrong?"

Philip looked down, then back at Sloan. "I'm not sure, all I know is
that there's something goin' on, an' I don' know what it is."

Sloan cocked an eyebrow. "How so?"

"I'd rather go some place more private." The priest lowered his voice.
"No disrespect to everyone else here, but right now, besides Derek I
trust ye the most." Philip stated, lowering his voice conspiratorially.

"Well, if you can't trust me, who can you trust?" Sloan laughed, then
became serious again. "Fine, I'll come with you." Sloan stood up, walked
with Philip to the elevators, and rode it up to the 14th floor.

They got out, and entered the priest's room. The sea green, sky blue
décor made Sloan slightly nauseous, but he ignored it. "Now, Father
Philip. What's on your mind?"

Philip sat on the couch while Sloan pulled up a chair. "Well ye see sir,
it's like this. Ye remember Kat?" Sloan nodded as Philip explained.
"Well, she has the Sight ye see. An' right before Derek an' I left San
Francisco, she had a very disturbin' Vision. She claimed she saw Derek
perform a blood ritual. After we calmed her down, we came straight here.

"However, after we got here, Derek started complainin' of exhaustion.
Well not really exhaustion, but ye know Derek. So far, I know of two
instances of Derek's problem."

Sloan, suddenly interested, replied for Philip to go on.

"Well, th' first time was after we had first gotten here. He said he was
alone in his room when, for no apparent reason, he just became tired. He
slept for several hours, an' I don' think he would'a woken up until I
knocked on his door. Th' second time was right after Daniel Cooper took
him away during dinner. I didn' even know where he was, until I met
Daniel in the hallway just now. He told me that Derek had gone straight
t' bed after their conversation, but I don' think Derek would just leave
me like that without tellin' me where he was goin'." Philip said,
worried over his friend.

"Well, I'm sure it's nothing, Father Philip." Sloan reassured the
priest. "However, we can go check him right now, if you wish."

"How?" Philip asked, knitting his eyebrows together.

Sloan smiled secretly. "I have my ways. Follow me." Sloan stood up, and
opened the door. He walked across the hall, and knocked on the door. No
answer. Sloan merely shrugged, while checking the hallway for anyone.
When he was convinced that no one was watching them, he took out a blank
Legacy ID card out of his inside coat pocket. He checked the hallway
once more, then inserted it into Derek's electronic lock, typing in a
number afterwards. The red light flickered once, then turned green.

Philip smiled slightly at the covert operation he found himself in.
"I'll bet Pounds for Pesos that Nick would kill for that card."

"If you tell * anyone * about it-" Sloan warned.

"Relax, I'm here t' help Derek. Anyway, I'm a priest, in th' Legacy.
What's one more secret?" Philip stated as the door swung open.

The priest and head precept entered the dark room, finding it unusually
cold and forbidding. They quickly walked over to Derek's bed, and found
him on stomach. Sloan shook him once, then turned him on his back.

"Dear Merciful God in Heaven!" Philip gasped, as he and Sloan looked at
their unconscious friend. Derek just laid there, unmoving. His eyes were
open, but they were unfocused and had a dull, glassy look to them.

Sloan waved his hand in front of his friend's eyes. No response.
Frantic, Philip grabbed Derek's wrist in order to find a pulse.
Finding one, he quietly breathed a sigh of relief. "He's still alive."

"That's good. Now we have to take certain precautions. You can't tell
anyone about this. If it leaks out that we know about Derek, it could
mean certain doom. I'll contact my House, and they'll send a couple
people to Kansas City. Discreetly, of course." Sloan ordered to the

"Fine, I'll contact my house as well." Philip stated.

"I'd advise against it. They might make things worse." Sloan replied.
"The less people know, the better off we are."

Philip interrupted. "I'm goin' t'call Angel Island, Sloan. They have a
right t' know about Derek. If he were t' fall, we'd be there t' help him
come back, all of us."

"Philip Callahan, don't make me order you-"

"Then don't. I'll take th' consequences of contactin' them. Don' do this
t' me." The priest pleaded.

"You know you cannot put the Legacy in jeopardy over just one man."
Sloan replied angrily. "Even Derek knows this."

"Well, I'm not Derek. Who knows how many people have been affected like
Derek. Half th' continent? Three-fourths th' continent? Ye need ma
friends' help, ye know ye do."

Sloan smiled suddenly, surprising Philip who expected a longer debate.
"You've been hanging around Nick too long. Alright, call them, but keep
them out of sight. I don't even want to smell them. My members are still
coming though."

"Fine, now what should we do about Derek?" Philip asked, finally
remembering his sleeping commander.

"We should wake him. Whatever this spell is, it probably affects them
best during sleep." The older man stated, as he started to roughly shake
his friend. "Derek, wake up NOW!"

The sleeping man's eyes finally closed completely, then flew open again.
"William!! What are you doing here? What am I doing here?" Derek tried
to sit up, but slipped back onto his back.

"Easy now. Ye've been under some sort of spell." Philip explained,
helping his Precept up slowly.

Sloan glared at Philip discreetly, "What's the last thing you remember?"

Derek thought for a moment, "I don't remember. I- I was talking with
Daniel. The next thing I know, you two are waking me up. Have you
contacted Angel Island yet?" Derek asked.

"I was just about t'." Philip explained. "Wait a minute, I've found
something on Derek's jacket." Philip lifted the coat's lapels back,
exposing shiny dust motes. One sort of jumped up at Philip, and absorbed
into the priest's skin. Philip's eyes rolled up, as he almost fell onto

Sloan quickly grabbed Philip and set him in a nearby chair. "Careful
now." He turned back to Derek, taking out a small plastic bag and pair
of tweezers from his coat.

"'Always prepared'. That's your motto, right William?" Derek laughed

"Not quite. It's actually 'Never let Derek Rayne out of my sight'." All
three laughed at the joke as Sloan finished picking up the particles.
"There now. I'll have this analyzed right away. By morning, we'll know
exactly what it is. Derek, my House is coming, and the good father here
has persuaded me to send for yours. Now I want the both of you- Philip
wake up!- to get some sleep. I need you both rested, because we have a
busy day tomorrow. Don't say anything to anybody, as we don't have a way
to discern the fallen people from the unfallen. You two will be my
contacts, so I'm counting on you. Come, Philip, I'll take you to your
room. He helped the already dozing priest to his feet, and escorted him
to his room.

After settling Philip in his room, Sloan went downstairs, knowing full
well that he wasn't going to get any sleep that night.

Chapter 3


"Hello Nick. How was your trip?" Sloan's face appeared on the head
monitor in the San Francisco's Legacy House's Control Room.
Nick grimaced as he thought of his last mission. "It was fake. A couple
boys thought it would be a real kick to scare little old ladies out of
their minds."

Sloan nodded in agreement, then clicked back into head precept mode.
"Nick, we have a problem here. You are to assemble your team and come to
Kansas City immediately . Your tickets are already to be picked up,
however you are to stay away from everybody except m y own House's

"What's the matter?" Nick asked, a little worried over both of his
friends' safety.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss it right at the moment. Also tell Rachel
to bring Katherine along. Once you arrive, my people will explain the
entire situation." Sloan ordered.

"Kat? Why?"

"I have my reasons, just bring her."

"Fine, we'll be there." Nick said, cutting the connection. The ex-SEAL
thought for a moment, then called everyone.

Chapter 4

Sloan had just left a coded message for his House at a secluded "public"
telephone at KCI, when he decided to go back and check up on Derek and
Philip. They were both very good operatives, and he was worried about

He discreetly entered back into the House, and headed to the elevators.
One dinged open a split second after he had stepped in front of it.
Warily, he waited for the other one to appear. It dinged open, and he
boarded it quickly. He clicked the 14th floor button, and waited as the
door closed. The elevator quietly rose while Sloan's body tensed for
action. The music, Sloan noted, was a symphony version of Oasis's
"Champagne Supernova". He grimaced as the violin's swelled in order to
take the place of Liam's voice. 'Bloody Hell,' he thought, 'Liam, how
could you let them turn your gift into * elevator music *.'

While thinking, Sloan leaned back against the wall, closing his tired
eyes. His mind began to wander form one subject to another. First, as to
why he joined the Legacy, then to why he took the position of Head
Precept, then finally as to how the Chipmunks became so popular in the
Eighties. As to how he got to that particular avenue, he had no idea.

He opened his eyes, and realized that somewhere along his thoughts he
had managed to slide onto the carpet. The doors dinged open, the sound
booming in his ears, then closed. Sloan looked up to see both Philip and
Derek standing in front of him, stiff and statuesque. They pressed the
basement button, and stood there waiting, completely ignoring Sloan's

Sloan forced himself up onto his feet, and waved his hands before the
two. Nothing. No recognition, no pupil dilation or restriction, no
consciousness whatsoever.

The door dinged open, and Sloan shadowed the two out into a huge room
with a cement floor and stone walls. It was completely barren except for
cots and floor-length candelabras.

Sloan somehow registered this as the room from Kat's vision, but found
the fact peaceful, almost relief. He lumbered jerkily toward the nearest
cot and pulled the sheet off. He gasped when he saw a 5-year old boy
staring up at him. Sloan suddenly felt trapped and spun around, seeing
Daniel Cooper in front of him, wearing a black robe.
The man smiled evilly. "So good of you to join us, William. If you
would've taken the first elevator, it would've brought you straight
here. However, since you brought me Derek and Philip here with you, I
can forgive you."

Suddenly, Sloan's knees buckled, and he toppled over. "Daniel, wha –t
are ya do'n" Sloan's words slurred together uncontrollably. His vision
tunneled as Daniel's face loomed in front of him.

"What am I doing here?" The man laughed. "Isn't it painfully obvious?
Well, I suppose I could forgive you since you are drugged. Now why don't
you be a good boy and lay on one of these cots for me." Cooper opened
his black pouch and threw the dust onto Sloan.

"N-never" Sloan cracked hoarsely.

After Sloan had completely lost consciousness, Derek and Philip carried
their leader to an empty cot, and covered him completely with a blanket.

Continued on the next page...