"The Wild Storm - Chapter Thirteen": It is raining in New York when Jacklyn King arrives in the alley, summoned by Director Miles Craven and Deputy Director Ivana Baiul. She is surprised to find a crimescene - and horrified to find the victim is Mitch Saunders, her subordinate. Baiul rattles off
- Go big or go home, right?
Appearing in "The Wild Storm - Chapter Thirteen"
- International Operations
- Jenny Mei Sparks
- Li-Men Shen
- "The Mayor"
- John Colt
- "Them in your basement" (Mentioned only)
- "Us in Heaven's Box" (Mentioned only)
- Pris "Voodoo" Kitaen
- Mitchell Saunders (Deceased)
- United States
- New York City
- The crimescene
- John Colt's room
- Marc Slayton's farm
- Levin's diner
- New York City
- Khera (Mentioned only)
Synopsis for "The Wild Storm - Chapter Thirteen"
It is raining in New York when Jacklyn King arrives in the alley, summoned by Director Miles Craven and Deputy Director Ivana Baiul. She is surprised to find a crimescene - and horrified to find the victim is Mitch Saunders, her subordinate. Baiul rattles off the timeline - forensics puts the time of death almost immediately after when they know he let IO headquarters yesterday. Baiul is condescending to Jacklyn, but offers to contact Henry Bendix, head of Skywatch, whose computers they just hacked, and who had both motive and means to order such an assassination.
Craven demurs on a diplomatic solution, ordering the mobilization of three CATs (covert action teams) and the beginning of a plan to kill everyone Skywatch Ground Division in New York. War between the agencies may have already begun.
On the Skywatch satellite headquarters, Henry Bendix and his XO Lauren Pennington are wondering if Craven will back off after what they did. Bendix admits that if it doesn't, they could target the families of agents - and also start disabling research facilities. Pennington interjects that wasn't productive when they did it last time, so Bendix gives her an order: he wants two sets of plans, one where they stealthily disable a research site, and one where they leave a public pile of corpses.
In Levin's Diner, in the desert, John Lynch is being watched. Looking up from his greasy breakfast, he locks eyes with a distracted man at the counter, who states that "they all know" what he did, and that he doesn't know what grew from his actions. Musing, Lynch leaves the diner immediately.
That night, he arrives at a farmstead in the middle of nowhere. Musing that the man he seeks used to like being around people, he almost doesn't notice the field of stakes behind the barn, each one topped by a crude arrow, all pointing at the same area of the night sky. Entering the residence via the back door, he sees his target is watching an adventure show on the television, but is also aware of his entrance. Lynch introduces himself, and identifies the man as Colonel Marc Slayton.
In shadows, Slayton tells him there is beer in the fridge. Lynch takes two cans, and throws one to Slayton. He wonders what drew Slayton here. Grinning, Marc explains he looked up his surname. It comes from the Norse word sletta, meaning "level field", and the Old English word tun, meaning a farm. So, he went to be a farmer on a level field, hunting and planting.
Lynch cuts to the point - IO is looking into Project Thunderbook. He tried to destroy all the files, but he left an index that he could watch, so that he could tell if someone ever came looking - and he might not have gotten all the files. So, he has come to warn Marc Slayton.
Slayton accuses him of not knowing what was done to the Thunderbook subjects. Lynch rattles off a potted history of the project - how IO found corpses in ancient burial sites which contained active genetic material they identified as alien. How their gen/active samples were found to plug easily into human DNA. How he went to his best and brightest, and offered them a place in a project to use the gen/active samples to become human enhanciles. And how, despite the unknown factors, despite the dangers, Marc Slayton had been the first to volunteer, stating his desire to push the possible forward and improve the world.
Slayton lashes back verbally, saying his position has changed. As his wrist starts to glow, he explains that the sample he was bonded to turned out to be a genetic engine that grew an organic computer inside of him. It grew other things, too, he says, as a glowing barbed tendril emerges from his wrist. And he has been feeding it. Feeding it enough that he has started to hear it talk to him, hear it pull him towards... something, possibly the other Thunderbook subjects, possibly beings far stranger. It wants to eat people. It can tell there is something unusual about Lynch. And it occurs to him that whatever IO knows, the only person who definitely knows his location... is Lynch.
Slayton strikes out with his barbed tendril, but Lynch dodges right. Firing wildly, Lynch punctures Slayton's beercan, which distracts Slayton, Slayton lashes out again, but Lynch tricks him into burying his tendril in the fridge, then knocks over the fridge and shoots rapidly into it as he runs. The resulting explosion wrecks the kitchen, giving Lynch the space to escape to his car, at which point, he considers Slayton warned, and drives away at high speed.
In the doorway of a closed-down music shop, the homeless man known as "the mayor" is trying to sleep when he is shaken awake by two women, who introduce themselves as Shen Li-Men and Jenny Mei Sparks. Opening a portal, Li-Men tries to recruit him by letting him sleep on Jenny's couch.
At his farm, Marc Slayton is bandaging small cuts in his face. He has decided that he does not like John Lynch, who always escapes the fallout of whatever the situation is, only to return and judge others. Slayton turns to self-pity, remarking he has "hunted" so many humans and "planted" them so that their souls could be launched to the world his alien implant came from. In the mirror, an alien creature with six glowing eyes seeks to calm him, saying he has done so much for it, and that to save himself, he should of course flee John Lynch or IO or whatever authorities they can summon and hit the open road. Crying tears of gratitude, Slayton identifies this being as "the Carer".
In her home, the popstar known as Voodoo sleeps drugged and deeply. A being emerges from the shadows, and placing one massive hand on her head, it orders her to "dream of the world as it truly is".
On the Skywatch satellite, a mission to Mars is undocking. With its drive running and its stealth systems operating, it will be at Mars in a week. On the control deck, Bendix and Pennington are making small talk, when Pennington says that Bendix and Craven have exactly one thing in common. They are afraid of a public scrap. A public scrap would reveal the power games both agencies have been playing. So, while she has compiled a list of people it would be useful to assassinate, and a list of facilities that could be destroyed or disabled, she has also written up a plan to break IO's control on Earth, radically destabilizing life and making it impossible for another polity to take their place.
It is night in New York, and John Colt is recording a video on his smartphone. Though he does not know his birthday by the reckoning of his home, he picked tomorrow as his birthday, long ago, and he makes a point of alerting Jacob Marlowe of its arrival every year, so that he starts the day angry. And he does this because when arrived here, on their spaceship from the homeworld, Khera, Jacob made them assume human shapes, to an unknown end. And then, for a reason he never explained to John, Jacob trashed the expedition by blowing up the spaceship, stranding the survivors here.
As he holds the camera, John marks his birthday as he always does - by temporarily shedding his human disguise to appear in his true form. Holding the phone in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other, John holds the camera to expertly frame his monstrous six-eyed face, and raises a toast to his own continued good health.
- Levin's Diner looks quite similar to the diner seen in Planetary #1, which was also written by Warren Ellis.
- No trivia.
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