by Lise Mendel and Mathieu Roy

Through Dreams the Past Lives on

Scene: Deep within the Zone—no one comes here

The girl sprawls, rag-doll limp, splattered with blood. Her eyes stare blankly, straight ahead. Past the gore and shattered structure. Past the lumps of stone and flesh scattered about like a twisted dolls house.

Her eyes see within...

Scene: Hours earlier. The Wizards turf; the Zone

A young man slinks through the street, watching behind him. He's leaving the Wizards domain. Leaving what passes for home...

He's known on the street as 'L'il Bro', but no one thinks much of that street name, face name, front name. Mostly he's known as Carl (the hostage, the only boy, the smart one).

The girl who finds him, follows him, stops him has a street name that is known, a little; feared, a little. She's one of the Wizards,

We're off to see the Wizards,
the wonderful Wizards of Odds
the one known as Thorn.

Thorn (Antares, Patty, the not so pretty one, the second sister) is one of the Wizards. Carl, her twin is not really a Wizard. He's the twin without the Power. The 'nat'. The second-class uncit.

The one who wants out.

So when Thorn finds out where he's going, she doesn't stand in his way. She walks along with him, to see him safely to what safety he can find.

But the elder sister, known as Rose (Betelgeuse, Emmy, the eldest, the beauty) finds out, too. Rose is the main squeeze of Jet Stream, leader of the Wizards, and she likes it here. She thinks her brother and sister should like it, too. She finds the other two, and they fight.

They fight, not with blows of mind or body, but with words and memories, as only family can fight. She doesn't want to leave the Wizards, or her lover and she doesn't want either of the others to leave either. Perhaps she doesn't want to lose her family, or maybe it's just that having them there cements her power. In any case, the arguement is short lived.

For, as they argued and walked, they had moved from the Wizards turf, or to it's fringes, and the noise brought scavengers.


The fight had been taken place in a lightning flash/eternity. Over and over in a slow motion pico second, as bodies explode and imlode and life is drawn away. Destroyed not by power, but by POWER, beyond the limit of sanity.

The fight hadn't been a fight at all.

...and the survivor looks over scene, and sees it not at all.

The Ancients had been a recent target of Jet Stream's ire, and leapt at their chance of revenge. They only had a moment of surprise, but they used it well. The air was filled with archaic missiles. Carl and Rose hit the pavement, as Thorn raised her psychic defenses. Crossbow bolts whirled crazily away from the green haired psychokenitic, then billowed back into the air on the crest of her retributive strike.


The power radiated out from Thorn, splattering several Ancients against the nearby buildings, and scattering the rest. From the ground by her, her brother drew his pistol and shot at the fleeing thrillgangers. Her sister lay still, sprawled on the cracked pavement...

Scene: two years earlier, a Corporate stronghold, deep within the Zone

The hallway was filled with red and grey and the smell of death. The remnants of a family flee from the compound into the harsh night air, with nothing to their names but thin, drab uniforms. Small, squishy things were still falling through the air as a half grown boy, still recognizable as Carl, hoisted the still form of a young girl (Allison, the baby) to his shoulders and struggled out into the cold night air.

Patty screamed again and again, as she let bolt after bolt of telekinetic force down the hallway, smashing walls and collapsing the ceiling before the two remaining base personnel could so much as look up. She sobbed incoherently, unleashing another bolt of random destructive force before Emily came up to her, put her arm around her shoulders, and pulled her out into the night.

Allison died a few hours later. She never woke up.

Thorn continued hurling deadly bolts of raw force and fury after the fleeing Ancients until she heard Carl shouting at her to help. Emmy was shot, hurt, but she could be helped. She needed a doctor. He and Thorn had to get her to Doc's place.

She stares, resolutely seeing nothing. Once, momentarily, she sees bare feet, starkly against the red flecked snow. Another time or is it the same one? she hears the unmistakable sound of a zipper. There is on overwhelming sense of fear; a lash of psychokenitic power, then blackness.

The girl sprawls, rag-doll limp, splattered with blood. Her eyes stare blankly, straight ahead. Her eyes stare into the past...

After leaving her brother and sister at Doc's clinic, Thorn rounded up the rest of the Wizards for an Ancients hunt. The six of them, Jet Stream, Whiplash, Brazen, Thorn, Freeze and Staccatto, took out the much larger gang with a minimum of planning and a maximum of force. It was the mop-up that caused them trouble.

They chased the fleeing survivors where they had no business being.

They chased them right to Ran's squat.

"It's really simple, you see," said the instructor, displaying the high kick. And indeed, she made it seem easy, decomposing her motion slowly so that the students kneeling along the tatami, all beginners, could see how she did it. Of course, were any of the students to try that kick, they'd try it at full tilt in the vain hope that they might finish something vaguely resembling the instructor's move before they lost their balance. "Of course, you're not quite there yet, but you will be soon." She smiled at the group. "It's a lot easier..." A gasp of pain cut her off, and she watched as one of the students fell forward on the fighting mat with a dull thud. "Um, Miss Raven, is something wrong?"

"I don't know," replied the student, a beautiful black-haired young woman, rubbing her temples. "I've got a rough headache all of a sudden. Feels a bit like brainburn."

A few students tittered at the word 'brainburn', but the sensei looked concerned. "You should go home and lay down."

"Yes, I..." Raven rubbed harder. "I think I will." She stood and stepped off the mat, belatedly remembering to turn around to bow at her assembled classmates and the dojo. She then headed straight out for the exit, massaging her temples, picking up her things and not bothering to change out the white gi she was wearing.

She went into the stairs, since she lived just one floor up and really didn't feel like waiting for the elevator. As she was headed up she came across two maintenance workers noisily talking as they quickly headed down. She caught a few words—Zero Zone, explosions, Southside...

Raven stopped so abruptly that the two clerks stopped to to stare at her, wondering what was going on with the babe in the white pajama. Raven rubbed her forehead and asked, "What's going on in Southside?"

The two techs looked at each other. "Erm," said the bravest, "just something I caught on the news. Something's wrecking the south of the Zero Zone. They're not sure what yet, seems to be moving vaguely North." He shrugged. "Zoners can't keep trashing their own place. Say, miss, everything all right? Anything I can help you with?"

"Ran," she muttered.


"Sorry." Without further conversation she ran up the stairs, leaving the two maintenance techs looking at each other and shrugging.

Raven entered in her apartment like a storm, tossing her bag on the couch, and kicked off the gi, wishing she could kick off the headache and the nervous tension as well. Southside was where Ran lived, and the knowledge that something big and spectacular was up in that area lent a new meaning to her sudden headache. Like all tekes and everyone in the Zero Zone, Raven had heard horror stories about Ran and his massive esper powers. He periodically went on rampages, wrecking much of the Zone every time, and every time he'd used so much power that her senses had been overwhelmed by the esper noise, giving her terrible headaches that had nearly incapacitated her. Exactly like now, but frag—across the entire Zero Zone and half of Neo York? He was miles away! If he was powerful enough to send her to her knees at this distance, as a side effect of whatever he was doing, all the horror stories had to be way under the truth.

"Well, so what?" she asked the bed. So what indeed. Before, she'd been terrified that Ran would someday show up and 'test' her, like he did a lot of the tekes in the Zone. But that fear had never materialized, and she didn't think he'd come out to the downtown core just for her. Nope, girl, you're being paranoid and egocentric. The world doesn't revolve around you and Ran won't be wrecking half the city just for your pretty eyes.

So let Ran wreck the Zone. After all, why should she feel concerned if the world's most powerful esper wanted to do a little urban renewal? And if she did, what could she possibly do about it? If he was tossing around enough force to give her headaches at this distance, she didn't want to be any closer to him than she absolutely needed to be. She hoped the Zone's residents were possessed of the same kind of sense. She wouldn't want to see what was happening to those parts of the Zone that were in his path...

North. Oh my goodness. She ran to her terminal, brought up a map of Neo York. shidh 'Vaguely north', the techs had said. There was a lot of stuff vaguely north of Southside. Including most of Darkside. including Clark Street. She brought up a news site, flipped until she saw—thank the Information Society!—one that tracked the explosions' movement on a map of Neo York. That's way too close for comfort.

If Ran ended up in Clark Street... Ran's rampage, if it was what it was, was as unseeing a catastrophe as a flood or a twister. He wouldn't know—or care—if he wrecked Auntie Lydia's place and buried her under her clinic. There was no way the Clark Street Devils could defend their turf against this one.

Not that Raven would produce more than a passing distraction, but... She might at least divert him away. If it came to that, she was very likely to pay with her life. And there was the matter of the rest of the chaos. With people sitting tight because of Ran, many of the Zone's gang figured they had a free run of the place. Of course, if they met Ran, they would be killed, but so what? Their chances were as good as if they stayed into place. Raven would definitely be a big help with the gangers, but the Devils knew their turf well and might successfully defend it. If Ran came...

If. She looked as the people from the news site updated their little schematic. The line of dots might miss Clark Street entirely. Or it might not. Raven's presence might cause Ran to seek her out; or he might completely ignore her.

As she watched, a new dot appeared—about a mile from the last one. Ran could teleport—of course he could, so could she. There was no way to remotely predict where he'd go. If he ended up on Clark Street, he'd kill a lot of her friends.

Friends? She paced around the room. Friends. Not much of a bunch of friends, the Devils, but the only ones she had, besides the few acquaintances she'd made here at the arcology. And Auntie Lydia. Especially Auntie Lydia. Maybe she ought to just pull her out to safety, while the storm passed...

She rubbed her temples again, cursed the blasted headache. She had to do something. It was dumb, something her Sensei would call foolish, something the security chief who was showing her the ropes would call liable to get her killed. And she, used to the battles of the street, knew it probably was both, but she couldn't stand the tension. She went to her closet and pulled the suit of flexible armor. At least I can dress for the occasion. Like it was going to make any sort of difference if she passed anywhere near Ran. She shrugged and put the armor on—somehow she didn't think Ran would be impressed if she showed up in her underwear, and it was the most sensible thing to wear.

She stapped both her guns to her body—again, wouldn't make a big difference with Ran, but she was going in the 'Zone, she might meet gangers and not want to risk burning herself with the world's strongest teke around. She clipped the celphone to her belt as an afterthought. She held no illusions as to whether aid would come if she got caught in the rampage and called, but maybe it would once things had settled down. And if Sanato freaked and wanted to find her, at least now he could.

She looked in the closet again and spotted her gray coat. What the hell. It's winter and, if I'm going to die, might as well do it in my favorite coat. She put the garment on. Then she gathered her will, concentrated as much as the dull haze of pain let her, and pictured Auntie Lydia's clinic. A minute later, she wasn't in the room. The news site, left unattended on the screen, displayed another update, another dot on the path of destruction.

Raven appeared with a loud bang on the sidewalk of Clark Street, facing Lydia's makeshift clinic. She glanced around, startled a bit at the cracked pavement under her feet. She'd never really done a lot of teleporting over this kind of range—several miles!—and the shockwave caused by her arrival was an unfamiliar thing. She knew there would also be a wave of loud esper noise. She suddenly realized she might have made a terrible mistake. Did he hear? Did I just yell at him, "Come here, here's a teke for you to splatter?"

She looked up to see a quintet of startled Clark Street Devils walk up to her. They were led by Rammer, one of the boss's lieutenants, a hulk of a man who'd managed to somehow scrounge up some secondhand combat cyber. He was bearing an aged combat shotgun that looked threathening even went pointed at the sky. Raven winced inwardly—Rammer was one of the most vocal of the 'traditionalists' in the Devils. He was vicious and as indiscriminate as the Boss could tolerate, and as a result he and Raven had never liked each other much.

"Hey, hottie," he called, "whatcha doin' out here?"

"Haven't you heard?"

"The whole Zone's heard, hottie. We're out in force and the Boss broke out the big guns, just in case someone thinks we've let down our guard." He slapped the shotgun for emphasis. "Didn't think you'd have the guts to pop out o' yer comfy corp conapt, tho."

"Frag off, Rammer. I've lived all my life in here, same as you. If Ran ends up..." Raven was cut off when she felt a massive hand clenching at her skull, crushing her brain. She shrieked at the sudden pain and clutched at her head, the quick motion unsurprisingly making her lose her balance and crumple to the ground, where she lay, trying to catch her breath.

Rammer and the other Devils felt a faint shockwave rattling their chains and their clothes, and heard the windows of the clinic crack in unison. They pointed their weapons in Raven's general direction, startled by her sudden behavior. Raven might be their only real shield against Ran or whatever was wrecking the Zone, but they'd all heard tales of tekes going nuts and wrecking everything and everyone around them...

Raven hiccuped and finally caught her breath. She struggled to her knees and looked up at Rammer from between stray locks of glossy black hair. "Point that fragging thing away from me," she commanded, and Rammer had seen Raven pissed often enough to comply quickly.

The esper slowly wobbled to her feet. Rammer gasped—her hair was dishiveled, her eyes were red and teary, and blood flowed copiously from her nose. "Wha'the frag happened? You look like shidh!" he yelled.

"I feel like shidh," Raven replied predictably. She took an unsteady step. "Whatever gave me that kind of burn it must've blown up something real good." She looked around at the disturbance her own involuntary reaction—a subconscious attempt to break the pressure she felt on her brain?—had caused. "Real good," she repeated.

"Shidh, girl, we gotta get you inside. Lydia'll fix you up." He grabbed Raven by the shoulder to prop her up and pulled her inside the clinic.

Raven tossed the stained cloth aside. The headache persisted, but the nosebleed had ended and she didn't have another as painful an episode as the one that had cracked all these windows. Be thankful for small favors, I guess.

After tending to her as much as she could (which, in a brainburn case, was not very much), Lydia had kindly but firmly requested that Raven leave the clinic. Like any conscientious doctor would, Lydia was preparing medicines, bandages, and other paraphrenelia for the flood of patients that was sure to follow. Raven had offered to help, but Auntie Lydia had told gently her that nervous and in pain as she was, the esper would just be in the way.

So Raven had sat in front of the clinic and trepidously waited for things she hoped wouldn't happen, waited for Sanato to call, waited for Ran to appear, waited for the street to collapse on her. The onimous rumbling of the ground and the distant explosions didn't do much to reassure her. Rammer and his little band had left, patrolling the Devil's turf, leaving her alone with her fears.

Please make him not come, prayed Raven, to any deity that might be listening. Please, make it so he was busy with something else and hasn't heard me come in. The deity must have been a darkly humorous one, because just then Raven's brain was struck with another terrible lance of pain, stronger than the previous ones. She moaned and grasped her head in both hands. Then the pain subsided a bit, and she heard the sounds of bikes and gunfire.

A go-gang. Of course they'd be everywhere, using the general disorder as a cover for their own thrills. Raven idly wondered if Ran was called 'chaos' because of the destruction he personally created, or because of the reactions of people whenever he acted up.

The sounds of bikes grew closer as those of gunfire died down. Raven turned her head towards the mouth of the street to see a small group of bikers roaring in towards her. The Devils knew every nook and cranny of their turf, and they'd be under cover, probably elevated, and shooting at the go-gangers as they approached. That this group had made it past that gauntlet meant that it had been a much larger gang to begin with.

The lead rider spotted and came riding in, keeping a shotgun trained on her, the barrel set on his crossbar, but didn't fire. Raven wondered why for a second, then figured out he might be hoping for something more fun than just shooting at her. Well, she knew a few games of her own.

When you could do only one thing well, you tended to know a lot about how it worked. Raven therefore knew a lot about her espers, and how they interacted with more normal physics. She might have fired a kinetic bolt at the biker, likely severely injuring him. But she didn't want to make any more noise than she absolutely needed too, lest she risk Ran becoming curious and dropping for a visit. Besides, such a display was totally unnecessary. The biker was already doing 20-30 mph; she simply reached out and yanked the bike sideays from under him. The motorcycle obediently slid one way, and the biker, carried by his momentum, went rolling painfully in another.

The go-ganger's friends came roaring after him. The new leader opened fired at her with her pistol, but his three shots were deflected wide by Raven's kinetic barrier. The teke stood, dust swirling in the unseen wind around her, and glared at the leader from under her wild black hair, her face covered with blood and tears of pain.

The bikers circled around her, unsure. None fired; at this range a deflected bullet risked hitting one of the other gangers. Raven stood at their center, glaring at them as she passed by, but making no attacks either, something that seemed to puzzle the go-gangers even more.

That is when the Devils began firing at the street from buildings on either side. Raven knew that the buildings near Clark Street were honeycombed with passages, and walkways from building to building, often nothing more than a wooden planked stretched from one hole blasted from a wall to a long-broken window. One of the Boss's idea, the network allowed the Devils to quickly reach nearly any point in their turf, virtually without leaving cover. The bikers hadn't known, of course, but if the speed at which they fled down the street was any indication, they were suitably impressed.

Raven looked around, and her eyes rested on the biker she'd dismounted. He was frantically trying to get his bike to start. Just as he did, he looked up, right into Raven's eyes. He paled visibly. Raven rose a hand... and slowly, deliberately, waved in a good-bye gesture. The biker didn't question his good fortune and roared after his friends. Raven looked up, spotted her former neighbor Chester in one of the windows, and gave him a thumbs-up sign. Chester smiled, returned the salute, then left, returning to his post at the edge of the turf.

Raven sat down, thoughtful. No doubt the bikers would go terrorize some other corner of the Zone now, but Clark Street, and one of the few clinics in the Zone, were safe. Like Lydia would say, one girl couldn't look after the whole planet, that was God's job. The best she could do was lend a hand when she could.

Raven returned the next day, a Saturday, to help Lydia and the rest of Clark Street out. Like they'd all guessed, Ran was the cause of the chaos—and rumors were flying as to what set him off this time. Some talked of a single esper, perhaps a corp 'esper weapon', who'd somehow managed to survive the encounters. Others said Ran had totally wiped out a wizgang and, apparently not satisfied, quite a bit of the Zone as well.

Raven was busy setting broken bones and binding light wounds when three more people entered, two men half carrying, half leading a young women. Raven recognized the older man, but it was a surprise to see 'Doc' bring in a patient. The other two were total strangers - both teens. The girl was covered with blood and gore, it was clotted on her green leathers and green hair. She stood dociley between the two men and stared with unseeing eyes about her.

Doc nodded at Raven, then looked at Lydia, "This one needs you more than me."

Lydia looked the small group over and as usual seemed to know immediately—no, to have known beforehand—what was going on. "Ah yes." She went to one of the bunks and cleared it out. "Lay her out here. Raven? Could you do me a favor?"

"Yes?" said the young woman, approaching as the green-clad girl was laid out on the bed.

"I want you to drop whatever you're doing and watch her. If she does anything, stop her. I don't want you to hurt her, but I don't want the rest of my patients to be hurt either."

"But..." Raven looked dubiously at the delicate young girl.

Lydia smiled. "You don't look very threatening yourself, my dear."

Raven understood. "I'll watch."

She watched as the two men lowered the girl to the bunk. She watched as Doc expertly peeled the crusted jacket, revealing a blouse that was splashed, not soaked, with blood. She watched as the other man gently cleaned the blood off the girl's face, and murmured softly to her. She watched as the girl slowly responded to his words, blinked, turned her face towards him. She watched as the girl's glazed eyes, as green as her impossible hair where it was free from gore, focused on the boy's face. They held confused recognition, then the unmistakable focus brought on by fear...

The bunk began to rattle, and the room to shake. As the girl on the bed stared in frozen horror at Raven.

Raven felt the girl's build-up of power, and she called on her own. For whatever reason she seemed to be terrified of her... but why? She'd seen some pretty irrational reactions to tekes, but if the patient was a esper herself, it made little sense she'd be scared of the same.

She reluctantly brought up a kinetic barrier between them two, but refrained from trying to interfere with the other girl's powers as she was sorely tempted to. Anything perceived as an attack might trip her off, and that would be *bad*. Even the shield was a risk.

"Hey sister, it's all right," she said soothingly. "You're in a clinic. Noone's going to hurt you."

The girl sat up and stared stone faced at Raven. The remnants of her jacket, lying on the bunk beside her, began to flap, and a small green handled dagger went skittering off across the floor...

The boy took the patient's head in his hands and turned her to face him. His voice was cracked with fear and concern as he forced her to look directly in his eyes. "Patty," he said, "it's me. It's Carl. you're here with me and you're safe. It's over..."

Doc took one look at the situation, and pushed Carl down as chaos exploded around them. Small objects flew through the air about the bunk, and a wave of telekinetic force rushed towards Raven. Through it all, the girl called Patty lay on the bed, with her face a study of frozen horror.

The wave crashed on Raven's barrier, but she staggered back nonetheless. She tried to catch her footing, but in her haste again forgot about her longer legs, tripped, and ended up sitting on the ground. Shidh, she's strong, she thought. From her sitting position she cast out her own power, trying to hamper and divert Patty's attacks.

Too much, too quickly... Stressed out, close to panic, and trying to do something she didn't practice often, Raven poured too much force into her attempt. Way too much force. Her brain exploded into fire for a second before scaling back to a dull ache. She moaned and crumpled right back to the ground. Shit, shit, shit... She blinked off tears. Hell of a time for brainburn. She rolled and looked up at Patty. Okay, lemme try that again...

By the time Raven had collected herself for her next attempt, the clinic was in shambles. Bunks, tables, equipment and people had been jumbled around, seemingly at random, and smaller objects were flying wildly about, but the building was more or less intact. Maybe, on some level, she was getting through...

The knowledge that her failure wouldn't cause the sky, or more prosaically the ceiling, to fall on their heads calmed Raven's panic somewhat. She found it easier to concentrate for another attempt, reaching out at Patty's teek to interfere with and suppress it, cutting it off before it had a chance to manifest as a real force.

She felt the opposing power 'shrinking' before her efforts, far more easily than she would have expected. Patty collapsed into a small ball upon the cot, sobbing hysterically.

The air about Patty seemed to shimmer and buckle, and the waves of force that had emanated from the young teek reversed their course. Raven felt the opposing power 'shrinking' before her efforts, far more easily than she would have expected. Patty collapsed into a small ball upon the cot, sobbing hysterically.

"Dead," the word was barely whispered, but came clearly through the sudden silence. "All dead."

Raven picked herself from the ground and just stood, doing nothing but watch as Carl, Doc, and Lydia hurried to help Patty. The tired teke was content to leave the comforting to them; it was a job for people who could understand Patty, who knew her and knew the right words to say.

Most important, it was a job for people who didn't terrify her.

Raven caught herself before teeking a handkerchief to her hand, but picked it up by hand instead. Patty might interpret any teeking as an attack and it might set her off again. She wiped the blood from under her nose—crap, another bloody nosebleed—and look at the devastation around her. Everything was jumbled but nothing seemed broken, and Lydia had judciously kept Patty in an isolated corner, so noone had been hurt.

Until the other teke was in a more normal frame of mind, however, she was still a danger. Raven pulled up a chair, let herself fall into it, and observed the proceedings, feeling for any sign of teek activity. If Patty acted up again, this time Raven would be ready.

It was several hours after Lydia's clinic had been the site of a very short telekinetic battle. The damage had been minor, mostly broken glass and rattled nerves. Doc had left soon after the cleanup was over, leaving the new patient, Patty, and the young man, Carl.

Patty had fallen asleep within minutes of her explosion. Doc and Lydia had both felt that that was for the best.

Raven watched the sleeper and her young minder. The latter was a apparently in his late teens, and as well-dressed and well-groomed as one might expect from a denizen of the Zero Zone. He was a bit tall, and had long blond hair and green eyes—the same green as Patty, Raven noticed. He was kinda cute, in a boy-next-door kind of way. He just seemed so utterly normal, a rare thing in this neighborhood. Maybe he was from Church Row or another of those places that were closer to Purgatory than Hell.

After about an hour, she asked him gently, "What happened?"

The boy, who had been watching the sleeper intently, turned his attention to Raven. His gaze held the attention she was just beginning to grow used to from men but without the energy to act upon it, at least for the moment. "As far as I can tell," he said, "Ran happened."

Raven nodded. "Do you how did she end up meeting him? Did he come for her?"

"No," he shook his head. "I don't know. The Wizards were going after the Ancients, and must have ended up running into the wrong part of town..."

Raven barely caught herself before saying 'She looks pretty shaken up'. That kind of stating the obvious wouldn't do much to reassure the boy. Instead she noted offhandedly, "She looked scared of me." It held the tone of a question.

"You thought so too?" He shook his head. "I don't know. The whole time Doc and I were bringing her back, I don't think she realized we were there."

"I don't know if you know about this, but tekes often give off, uh, 'vibes' that other tekes can pick up." Raven shrugged. "Maybe she didn't really see me, just felt the vibes, thought 'Ran', and lashed out."

He shrugged.

On the bunk, the patient began to stir, and his attention wavered. "Um, do you think you'll set her off again?" he asked anxiously.

"I sure hope not. I gotta stay anyway, in case she's set off by something that can't defend itself." She thought for a second. "Tell ya what, I'll try and dampen my 'vibes' so they won't set her off. It might help." She concentrated a bit, forced her power to cease the permanent simmering that Thorne might pick up.

He nodded in agreement and moved closer to the girl. "Patty?" he asked cautiously. "Hey, you OK now?"

She opened her eyes and groaned. "Where am I?" she asked. She looked shaken and pale, but didn't have the blank stare that she'd worn before.

"You're in Lydia's clinic on Clark Street," Raven replied gently. "Doc Muldoney took you here after he found you." She looked around for Lydia, but couldn't find her in the room.

Patty replied to her, without a trace of fear or recognition. "How'd I get here?"

"Doc and I brought you here," Carl said. "Don't you remember?"

"No," she said. "No..."

"You looked pretty shaken up." Raven waved across the room, where some of the results of Patty's earlier commotion hadn't been picked up. "You woke up earlier and wreaked a little havoc, just shuffled stuff and a big scare." She spotted Lydia and waved to her to come over.

Patty looked around the room. "It doesn't look too bad..."

Okay, let's try to put this in a gentle way... "I... I messed with your teek while you were out of control. It took some doing but I managed to tone down most of it. I'm a teke like you."

The patient sized her up, visibly. "Pretty fancy stuff," she said. She showed every sign of caution, but not the blind terror she had faced Raven with earlier.

"Thanks," Raven replied. She spread her hands. "It's not something I do often. If you don't mind, I'll just..." Gradually, she stopped her suppression of her telekinetic signature. "I didn't want to spook you again earlier, but you look okay."

Lydia approached the bed. "I'm Lydia, the doctor," she introduced herself. She was a small, older woman with a wizened look, who didn't seem frazzled at all by any of the recent events, or the rather hectic conditions of the clinic. "How do you feel, dear?," she asked Patty.

"I'm alive," she answered. Suddenly her face grew dark, and she stopped talking.

"What's wrong, Patty?" Lydia asked. Raven's eyes narrowed cautiously, but the doctor herself seemed unworried.

"Where are the others?" She turned to Carl. "Where's Whiplash? Jet Stream?..."

Carl just shook his head and turned away.

"They were..."

Raven felt Patty's power rising within the green-haired girl before it started expanding outwards, diffracting the light in wavy patterns, and making small objects shake. The implements in Lydia's black bag clinked onimously against each other. The glass of water that the doctor was holding started slushing.

And it was still rising. Raven bent forward to reach out with her own power and disrupt Patty's but she stopped at the last moment. In the state Patty was in, feeling Raven's signature might set her off again. But if Raven did nothing, Patty's distress might increase to the point that she lost control of her psychokinesis and started wrecking everything.

Raven felt Lydia's reassuring hand on her arm. She looked up at her aunt, then leaned backed and relaxed her power. Lydia approached Patty, the glass in her hand spilling drops of water, and said in a soft, soothing tone, "Patty, take a deep breath, and relax. You're safe now."

Patty stared blankly at Lydia. "The Wizards are dead, all dead."

Carl reached over to hold her hand. "We're not all dead. I'm still here, you're still here, Thorn, and Rose..."

"All dead," she replied numbly. "Thorn is dead, too."

"Who's Thorn?" asked Raven.

Patty didn't answer. Carl looked at Raven, then back at Patty. 'Street name' he mouthed, silently.

"You look pretty live to me," said the black-haired teke.

The green haired on met her eyes, her stare blank and flat. Raven's were slowly filling with understanding—she knew how scared she'd been at the mere thought of meeting Ran, but for the thing to really happen... "At least," she said at length, "Patty's alive."

"Here, Patty," Lydia interrupted, handing her patient the glass of water. "You should rest. And you should eat." She glanced at Carl. "All of you must be famished."

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