Request Monday

Well with this section posted I feel I've reached the end of the first act of this story. In fact I've reached the end of where I know I want things. There is more to be said, and the story isn't over. Plus there are bits and pieces that have to be put in.

[5]

"Well this isn't too surprising." The drives weren't secured and the files were opened with programs any computer in the past decade could run. The problem Ricky and Alice ran into while hunched over Alice's computer was that everything was in hieroglyphs. It was translatable, but there were no guides on drive, and a search through the Internet would take hours.

Ricky peered over Alice's shoulder while they looked the mass of symbols over. He hadn't the faintest idea on what it was supposed to mean, but something jiggled into place. "These look computer generated."

Alice shrugged while scrolling through files almost as if she knew what she were looking at, almost. "So? All it takes is someone with a tablet and time to kill to draw pretty pictures."

"What I mean," Ricky broke a major rule of ettiquite by shoving Alice's hand aside and started mousing through the drive's contents while he spoke. "Look at the creation dates on all of these." The oldest were almost a dozen years old and the newest a few weeks. "They've been active awhile." He saw a plain text file and opened it.

Alice grunted, shoving Ricky's hand away. "So? They've been worshiped for militia. Even if they stopped existing when they weren't they've been slumming around since the seventies, if not possibly since the mid nineteenth century. They've had lots of time to- Well I'll be." Her amber eyes skimmed what turned out to be a translation. "Whoever wrote this could've tried a little harder to not be so literal." The sentence structure and word use would have made even the worst fan-dubbed anime look like the work of an English major, but it gave the pair a sense of what was on the rest of the drive.

"A dog getting people to do his digging for him?" Motherly voice from behind them. They turned and saw an olive skinned heavyset woman looking back at them. "Funny that he was the one that advocated keeping mortals out of our business." Blink and you would have missed the spear in her right hand.

Alice's gun was out but she held it relaxed with fingers away from the trigger. "Who are you?"

"Oh I could claim any number of important titles dear child. I could go on and on about my deeds, or tell you the name of the face I'm currently wearing, but they don't tell you a bit about who, or to hit closer to the mark what, I am." Her tone was warm and light as she spoke. "Oh do put that away. I'm not going to hurt you." Blink and the spear was gone.

"I just wanted you on notice that no side of what you're stepping in is any more right than any other. I suggest, for your own health and Welfare you go play somewhere else." Light tone that didn't match the hardness in her eyes.

Ricky bowed slightly to her. "I apologize Honored One." This earned him a raised eyebrow from their uninvited guest, "But we have been charged with a task by one who we've sworn to follow." He saw Alice's angry look and sighed. "Well I have at any rate. I'm not sure where she stands."

The woman looked saddened by this but returned Ricky's bow. "He is honored by your dedication I'm sure, but so far other than that berserker woman you've been shielded from our doings by-" She had a distant look on her face for a moment and then it was gone, "-Treaty is too strong a word. Think of it more as an informal agreement to keep mortals out of our affairs. We can't go lording over the world like we used to. Nobody likes to admit to that but there's just too many of us and if we started warring with each other now."

She cupped her hands then spread them wide, releasing a fist sized flash of light and a miniature mushroom cloud. "Too much fighting in Our Names even when we don't say anything. Nobody wants to see what happens if we take a direct hand and make it worse."

Ricky and Alice both looked somewhat confused until that nugget of information sunk in. Wars fought by the hundreds in the name of religion over just the past thousand years. Yes the idea of these 'dead' pantheons not wanting to just encourage more seemed sensible, especially with their own positions so iffy where maintaining a following was concerned.

Blink she was gone, almost like she was a daydream.

After a few moments that felt like minutes Alice asked, "Was that a warning, threat, or an apology?"

"I'm not entirely sure." Ricky took the thumb drive and pocketed it. When Alice glared at him he only made shushing motions before heading for the door. He had what he had been asked to gather, assuming both drives had been copied onto this one anyway. He figured Alice might be irritated at his exit, but he didn't want to be seen hanging around her too much here. After all they were at a police station and even though she was off duty she was still at her job.

Why was he here? He'd given his statements, given the bottle of mystical magical knock-crazy-goddess-out beer to someone who he thought would probably be able to use it better than him. So.

They glowered at him but sent a car ahead to his apartment to make sure it was clear before letting him go home. Take three guesses on who was supposed to babysit that night in case crazy sword swinging person wanted to add his head to the collection.

Alice was less than thrilled at the idea, but she made the best of it when he offered to let her in for a brief rest. It wasn't romanticlly or even physically motivated. Ricky just felt bad for her and she was half asleep long before it was time for her to leave.

Inside she nodded approvingly at his home. It was kept in order, though it did look like it needed many many of those little touches most people don't think to do, but it wasn't overflowing with dirty clothes, rotted food, or Unnameable Horrors.

Tidiness wasn't what got her attention. Instead it was Ricky's little bedroom shrine. She gently traced the curves of the center statuette and nodded at the offering bowel. When Ricky offered to let her use it she shook her head. "Thank you but no. Horus asked me to help you, but I'm not sure how he would take this." This raised an eyebrow. "You thought Anubis was the only one tapping people on the shoulder wanting things done?"

Of course things inevitably turned back to the mystery contents of the drive, which had been copied again onto Ricky's computer. Most of the rest of Alice's shift was spent finding a way to translate the translation into something that could be read without causing headaches. Getting it to make sense was also high on their priority list, which is why it took so long just to find something that would help even though both were relatively active members in different 'pagan' discussion groups. Groups that gave them access to people that had a better than average chance of making sense of what they were looking at.

The files themselves weren't posted, since that would be chancy and might risk upsetting things that could do Very bad Things if they were so inclined even when the object of irritation was one of their own followers. That and they wanted to see what it was before showing off even if it wasn't some hyper secret plot to... whatever.
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