Jesuit doesn’t say anything for a few moments, taking in what his ex-wife just told him.
Constance nods, slowly. “Our daughter.”
She continues. She found out she was pregnant after the divorce was finalized, and after Edmund had started the path down to becoming a Jesuit. The way they had ended the relationship, and the fact that they both lived ridiculously dangerous lives, convinced her that the best option would be to put the child up for adoption.
She called in a few favors and made sure their daughter was given a safe, loving family, but one that she would have no idea where. For years she resisted the temptation to try and find her, to find anything about her. But a recent mission brought her here to Italy, and she knew of someone here who could possibly find out a few things. So she asked. She found out the child was in Italy, but that’s all they could find.
That’s when The Order of Il Lustratio kidnapped her. They tried to get her to tell them where the child was, but she didn’t give them anything, not even where she may potentially be.
Jesuit asks, “But why would they want our child? I did not have my powers when she was…”
Constance shrugs, wiping the tears from her eyes. “Who’s to say? I didn’t get any chance to ask them questions.”
The couple walks back inside and tells the rest of the team, and Father Nicholas, about this new turn of events.
“A child…?” Father Nicholas asks, eyebrow raised.
“Before I took the vow, Father.” Jesuit says.
“But why do they want her?” Firework asks. “The Breaking didn’t happen until after she was already born, right?”
Father Nicholas responds, “Perhaps because since the first Jesuit was a, how you say, Chosen one, and there hasn’t been a Jesuit with abilities since Edmund here, they felt there would be a connection. The whole purpose of Il Lustratio, from what we’ve been able to determine, is that they want to figure out the meaning behind The Breaking, what in their eyes corrupted God’s plan, and how to reverse it.”
He indicates to Edmund. “With you, and your child, they have a link, possibly a direct one, to Loyola himself. What they intended to do if they got your child, I know not”
The team shares with Father Nicholas the true cause behind The Breaking. That a “chosen one” called Cain fought with the one known as Caretaker, which broke the cycle of 7 and released energy from The Nevernever into the world, causing people to Break Out.
Father Nicholas says, “A CHOSEN ONE did this? Amazing. I had heard stories about such things but…” He trails off and ponders for a bit. He says he’ll discuss this with his council.
Constance and Edmund decided they wanted to know about their daughter’s whereabouts, not to bring her into their lives, but to make sure she’s safe. They also realize they may well be under observation. They would use other channels to try and find her, and to make sure that she is indeed safe. And happy.
Father Nicholas tells Edmund that the heads of the Jesuit order have been keeping an eye on him and that they are very impressed with his actions of late. That in the near future, he may need to make a choice. A choice about what direction he wants his life to go.
Constance and Edmund share a lovely evening, deciding that getting back together would not be a wise choice. They leave each other on good terms.
Aurum pulls aside Father Nicholas, before he heads out. He tells him, “I am requesting an official meeting with Pope Francis, by the order of the terms listed in The Covenant.”
Father Nicholas says nothing for a moment. He pulls out his cellphone and steps into the hallway. A few minutes later, Aurum’s cellphone rings. A voice responds, “Your meeting has been granted for tomorrow, 1:15 p.m.”
Aurum smiles and tells Jesuit and Firework that they’ll be joining him as his associates. Bouncer and Wildheart should…keep themselves busy.
Which they do.
The following day, Bouncer rents a Vespa and rides around Rome, checking out the sights and sounds of the beautiful country.
He makes a call to Dr. Brennan. He updates her on what’s been going on. She suggests that they come back as soon as they can, that she can only “hide” their absence for so long. She mentions that Mickey has been able to help covering their tracks, but even his skills are only so good. Bouncer tells her that he thinks they’ll be coming back that day, though there areis some business to attend to.
Dr. Brennan says they’ll have some business to attend to as well, once they get back to the states.
Wildheart attempts to track down other Paranormals. Following his nose, he stumbles upon a farmers market outside of The Coliseum. He sees a pair of young men in gladiator gear putting on a show with fake swords and shields. He’s able to tell that one of the fighters is a WTF.
Not speaking the language, he tries to get a sense of the young man. He asks around and finds a vendor who speaks some English. The man is selling similar props that the men are using. The old man indicates that the one Wildheart is tracking is his son. He’s proud of his gladiator son.
Wildheart asks to duel with the young man, in a “mock” fight.
Wildheart wants to let the man know that he’s a paranormal, and that it’s okay to come out to Wildheart. They spare and Wildheart gets more and more juiced up from being around the young man. He starts to try and taunt him until he pushes him to the point of revealing his powers.
The fake sword that the young man wield, completely plastic, turns into metal. The man drops it and it falls to the ground with a loud KLANG. The marketplace all turn to look at the young man as the sword turns back into plastic.
The old man who helped Wildheart initially scurries over to the young man. He picks up the sword and starts ushering the young man away, leading him to a van. Wildheart follows.
Wildheart tries to explain that he’s a Paranormal too, and that he can help him. The old man tries to brush off Wildheart, telling him to go, but Wildheart insists. The young man finally reaches the van, but when he opens the door, the metal door turns to plastic, which the young man’s fist goes through.
That’s when a loud whistle rings through the air.
Wildheart turns around and sees a small crowd has gathered. Several of the people are pointing at where the young man went. A police officer is there, talking into a walkie-talkie. Soon, other police man arrive.
The young man panics and bolts. He is soon chased by the police.
The old man gestures wildly, trying to distract the cops. Wildheart uses this and leads the policemen on a goose chase, helping the young man escape. Once Wildheart sees that their quarry has escaped, he bounces off as well.
Aurum, Firework, and Jesuit get to the Vatican City on time. They walk up to the main gates and tell the guard that The Locksmith is here for a meeting with his holiness. Walking hand in hand, Firework and Aurum walk in, followed by Jesuit.
Several tourists start to snap photos of the apparently gay couple walking in, but they’ll find that several flashes went off (sparks, you might say), obscuring the men’s faces.
They’re told to go to the “usual place” and Aurum leads the way. They go down several corridors, twisting this way and that, with each hallway longer than the one previous to it. After several minutes they reach the longest corridor yet. Walking down they see on either side of them portraits of the previous Popes. They get more and more ornate as they go down the years, until they reach Pope Benedicts portrait, extravagant and framed in gold and jewelry. Right after that is a much simpler, wooden frame with a simple portrait of the current leader of the church.
Walking in through large, ornate doors they step into a well lit room. The light becomes blinding, causing the men to blink a few times. Once their vision clears they find themselves in a small room. Inside is a simple wooden desk, a sturdy yet plain chair, a bookcase filled with tomes, and a file cabinet. Sitting in the chair behind the desk is Pope Francis the First.
After welcoming his guests, and providing seats for them (which appeared out of nowhere) he asks what brings The Locksmith to his humble abode. The Pope admits he’d been looking forward to meeting this generations Locksmith for some time now.
Aurum, in a very professional and diplomatic manner, tells his holiness about the incursions that have been occurring the past several months, about the shadowy figures that have possessed those that come through the incursions, and how he feels they are a threat to this reality, which is his purview.
His excellency agrees that the incursions are a cause to worry. They have been happening all over the world, but the “shadowy agents” seem only to occur in the Bay Area, near where the The Breaking originally occurred.
Pope Francis ponders a moment, then thanks Aurum for bringing him his concerns. He tells him that he has the full support of the Church behind him, and that he’ll do what he can to look into the situation.
Aurum asks the Pope for his assistance in another matter. After seeing how Paranormals are treated in Italy, where they are still rounded up out of fear, a few words from his immense could greatly alter the general populace’s perceptions. Father Francis smiles and says he will look into that matter as well, and speak with his cabinet.
Before they leave, his excellency asks to speak with The Jesuit. He tells him that he is proud of the fact that a member of the church is doing so much to safeguard the world. He tells him that though he may need to make a choice in the future, as Father Nicholas told him, he should put his faith in God to help him make the right choice.
Sometimes the right choice isn’t the most obvious.
After the meeting, Aurum flies the team back to the states. They get a good night sleep and are told by Dr. Brennan that she wants them at AEGIS HQ to have a meeting about the future of the team.
The next day, the team is told that Kali, who has been OVER THERE for most of this time, is being sent away on a long term mission, one where her unique skills will be an asset. In her stead, they’re getting a non-Paranormal teammate. When asked why this is, Dr. Brennan explains that it’s not just this team, but every AEGIS paranormal team will be getting a non-paranormal agent.
In the past, various teams have encountered a paranormal or some other factor that took away the paranormal abilities, leaving them defenseless. Typically these factors don’t affect ACME Devices, so top agents will be given such devices to help assist the team.
Firework asks why the team isn’t just given ACME Devices, in case something like that happens. Dr. Brennan says that such items are still rare, since only a handful of Paranormals have been discovered that can create them, and the top brass felt it would be redundant.
Bouncer mumbles something about the “top brass” not trusting the paranormals to have that much power.
Regardless, Dr Brennan says she’ll be introducing their new teammate now.
The team is introduced to Wellington Whedon III aka War. He show cases his ability with an ACME bow and arrow, taking out various AEGIS agents with both style and grace. And gas arrows.
Back home, the team introduces War to Johnny 5, who almost zaps him dead. But after some scanning and encoding, Johnny 5 welcomes War to their happy home.
A month passes, with various adventures and assignments. War mostly keeps to himself, being a naturally private person, as well as the only non-WTF in the house. He does have long conversations via Google Hangouts with an unknown women, who remarks “Your firewalls are harder to crack than most. I love a challenge.”
Thanks to the advice from the unknown woman, War attempts to make small talk with his team, which ends up awkward, but it’s a first step.
Aurum has kept to himself more than usual. He summons the team into his Sanctum Sanctorum in the basement. He tells them that with the teams help, he’ll be able to channel their energies into upgrading their home.
He asks them to concentrate, performs a ritual (everyone spends 1 PP), and with a loud shake and flash of light, he takes them into their new home.
Before Wildheart steps out, he gets a phone call from his mother. She sounds distressed. He asks her what’s wrong.
She says, “I got a letter. It’s from your brother.”