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Hunting Atharim
It hadn't gone as Nox expected. The needle, the questioning, they believed him. The fact that he was Atharim should have made him sit in jail for the immediate future but here Ivan was walking him out of the building. Coffee. Nox wasn't sure why he wanted to be away from the other cops to discuss whatever it was he wanted. But Nox went with it.

It was a good distraction from his personal life. Sleeping with Jay, breaking up with Elyse, Sage's advances. It was all too much. And he hadn't been sleeping well to begin with now he had this shit to think about too. Not to mention the fact that Dane and Aria were back together and it was his fault. This was a cluster fuck if he'd ever seen one.

There was a coffee shop near them. While it was busy it might hide the fact that they were discussing extraordinary things. Monsters and magic and all things Atharim. Why he didn't tap Dorian for the information was beyond him. Nox wasn't going to be much help. And the fact that he had just confessed to murdering a thing and being Atharim. And being a god. He was fucked. There was only one thing he could think of doing that might protect him and that was letting the world know he Nox Durante was Atharim AND a god. And the best way to do that - was to tell the government. Sure Ascendancy already knew. But his underlings - they didn't. That stupid form might just save his life. Because Nox knew that the Atharim already had him on most wanted. If not for Aria, he just did it himself all to help out Dorian. Which also meant Dorian was fucked.

Nox ordered a coffee and sat down at a table and waited for Ivan to finish up his order. Just fuck!

Ivan sat down and Nox gave him his best smile. "I assume you have questions you don't want your fellow cops to hear so let's get this over with."
Nox pulled out his wallet and pulled up that website for the form and stared at it while he waited for Ivan to ask his questions.

Edited by Nox, Aug 9 2017, 07:11 AM.
Nox seemed surprised. Ivan supposed that made sense. The guy had come in and confessed to killing someone. The DA would decide whether to prosecute, but he doubted that would happen. As long as he stayed in Moscow, there was no reason the hold him.

Besides, Ivan had more important uses for him. At the coffee shop they ordered and then sat down in a corner. The room hummed with talking and the clink of silverware and mugs and glasses. They wouldn't be heard.

Nox put on a big smile that screamed how uncertain he felt. His words indicated he'd figured out Ivan wanted to keep this on the DL. Even as he spoke, he used his wallet to call up something. It seemed to hold his uneasy attention.

"Yes. I didn't want this on the recording. Technically, you're a civilian and there's protocols about enlisting their help. But given you past assocation...and what you do for a living, well....I'd be a fool not to want your help."

He watched Nox's face for his reaction, but before he said anything, Ivan went on. "I want to track down these Atharim that killed the two channelers. And I'd like your help, if you're willing. I'd ask Dorian but he's not here and you are. I imagine your people are good at slipping through the cracks, so time is of the essense. You game? If so, any particular place you think we should start?"
He wanted help hunting Atharim? And he wanted Nox to help. That was a bit of a reach for Nox. Working with the cops to catch his own people. Could he betray them? What if it was Aria?

Fuck! The Atharim would want him dead. The Atharim would hunt him down and try to kill him. But Nox wasn't some two bit hack. He fought monsters with his power. He killed Oni and rougarou. He killed a rush of weird ass creatures without a scratch on him.

Nox wasn't some sick kid. The Atharim that hunted him would find themselves dead unless they put a bullet in his brain unwittingly. Nox glanced around the room. He didn't like where he was sitting now. Fuck!

Paranoia on top of insomnia this was so going to go well.

"You know what you are asking me to do right? You are asking me to betray everything I've ever known."
How was that any different from what he had done with Aria. Hunting Ascendancy had been her job, yet when it came down to it Aria started working for the Ascendancy - betraying her people and taking him down the same path. Dorian was doing the same thing - betraying his people. And for what? A life on the run? Hiring some kid to protect his son. Dorian had his reasons for betraying his people. Protecting his son was number one on his priority list. The Atharim would hunt Cruz down the moment they found him.

What was the benefit for him? Why say yes? Nox sighed. "Yeah. Alright."
There was no benefit. But cooperation was a good way to keep his head above water long enough to figure out how to stay away from the Atharim. It would only take moments for the records to reflect he'd confessed to murdering with the power of the gods. The Atharim would know by now. Someone would hunt him.

Nox pulled out his Atharim issued wallet from his other pocket and tried to gain access. But he'd been right. He'd been locked out. Confessions did that. He could only wonder when and who would be after him.

Nox pulled the storage card from the device that held all his fun software he'd have to see if Sage could wrangle it to his new wallet. When he got back from surgery anyway. Stray thoughts lingered, his body against him and Nox had to push it away. Not now he thought to himself.

Back on topic. "Well my confession has had the expected result. I can't find out who exactly did the job. But Dorian might be able to. That should be our first stop. He should have the information already as he's supposed to be covering their tracks. And if he wants to keep the Atharim off him, then he needs to keep doing his job. Framing me was his best option of that. You threw it out the window for him."
Nox grinned. "Thanks for that."

"You want to call Dorian or do you want me to?"
Nox seemed out sorts. Ivan really wasn't sure why. The Atharim would come for him now that he had been outed. They were willing to kill people who they just suspected of channeling. Judge, jury and executioner. Vega had turned on them the moment he found out his son had the ability.

All of that told Ivan that they weren't a close knit group. They were driven by a sense of purpose, a sense of destiny. But when you found yourselves in the cross-hairs of the very group you belonged to...well it seemed a no-brainer that you might suddenly decide they weren't so great after all. Especially since Nox knew what he was and had hidden it from them for a while. He had decided not to kill....what did he call them? "My people?" Something like that. His loyalty was already compromised to his conscience.

Still, Ivan didn't point any of that out to him. People held all kinds of contradictory ideas in their heads at the same time. There was a term for it but he couldn't remember. Nor did he mention the fact that there was no way he could have known that Nox's arrest and charging would cover for VEGA. He wanted the man's help.

And it'd be really really nice if the man wasn't walking around with a stick up his ass the entire time.

Ivan smiled a bit- not apologetically, but wanting to smooth things over. He really didn't want to get pissed off himself. "I know you put a bullseye on your back, doing what you did. And I appreciate your willingness to work with me. I heard what the Ascendancy said in his speech. The Atharim protected people."
And murdered them. But Nox knew that. An idea had already begun forming. Perhaps what the Ascendancy already had already in mind. He wasn't privy to all that was going on despite his role with the Padre. "A new kind of Atharim, working with the monster squad, might be something that is in the works. You and I can be the first to team up."

Nox pulled the card from his wallet. He'd been burned. Ivan pulled out his own and dialed Vega.

"Vega. Sarkozy. Listen I need some information about some mutual friends that were at the concert the other night. Seems like they might responsible for what went on backstage. Can you do some poking around?"
(Don't feel like logging out)

"I've already sent the information to Nox's phone along with some other information he might like to have. Tell him it went out on high alert twenty minutes ago. And watch your back Ivan. You don't know what you've mixed yourself up in."


Could he work with the cops? Everything he did was always under the cover of shadows. He was a criminal for all intensive purposes. That's what the Atharim did. They snuck into places they didn't belong to kill things that shouldn't exist. We hid our actions. We paid the cops off. We had inside men. The Atharim weren't doing it for the money. And it was a thankless job. He hadn't turned himself in for the Atharim. He'd done it for Dorian. And now Dorian had to cover his tracks in another way.

Ivan wouldn't ever understand what he was asking. To work with the cops... He wasn't Dorian. There was no way Nox was going to ever be cop material. He didn't follow the rules - not even those that had been beat into him by his father.

Nox filled out the form sitting on his other wallet. It was done. His fate sealed. Nox smashed the Atharim unit on the table and brushed the glass shards into his coffee cup and dropped the broken unit in as well.

The second wallet buzzed with information as Nox turned his attention to the conversation Ivan was having with Dorian. But the information was exactly what they needed plus... Nox groaned. "What a cluster fuck!"

Ivan hung up with Dorian and Nox didn't wait for him to ask. "Dorian sent the information we needed. So that's the good news. The bad news, they have been recruited by the Archangels who are hunting me."
Nox turned his phone around and showed Ivan pictures of their two little god hunters. "Our friends."
With a flip of the screen Nox showed Ivan. "The two remaining of the first and best squad of elite force know as the Archangels . Armed with weapons to defeat gods. That nuke that Ascendancy saved us from ring any bells?"

Edited by Nox, Aug 16 2017, 12:29 PM.
Nox's phone vibrated and he checked it out. His look- more importantly, his words- seemed to give Nox a heart attack. Ivan might have laughed another time, but this seemed serious.

[color=lightblue'"Wha-,"[/color] he began before Nox turned the wallet around and showed him the two Atharim. One of them was Asian and slight, the other maybe Pakistani. The pics were the none-descript ones you took when getting an id. The thing that immediately stood out was how very ordinary they looked. Which made sense. Not like Atharim could walk around so that they stood out from other people.

Or maybe not. Nox swiped and the pics were replaced by two more. This time it was another Asian man, but even in the ID, he seemed like he would stand out, eyes challenging, mouth grim. The woman too. Not so much hot as....he didn't know the word. Formidable.

Or maybe his mind was imagining things based on Nox's words. Because if he was to be believed, these two were something else. He wasn't stupid. An organization like the Atharim didn't last for thousands of years and have the power it did if it was made up of fools or was soft. And if these were elites...well, Ivan didn't shudder. That wasn't his thing.

But this was serious. These people were serious.

At Nox's comment he paused. "I was there that night. And later saw the Ascendancy after he sustained his injuries. And after.
He didn't say more. The Pastor's secrets were now national secrets. But he'd known it was not a nuclear device, despite the announcement. And he'd wanted to know but figured it was above his paygrade, "Are you saying that was the them?"
, meaning the group, not these people on the screen in particular.

You had to know what you were getting into. "How? I know it wasn't a nuke. What kinds of weapons do they have?"
They'd need to be prepared. Because he sure didn't intend on dying, not for a long while. Nor on looking as tore up as the Sigma- well, he had been the Sigma- had.

And they had a job to do.
Nox smiled. He was about to educate the cop. Dorian knew who had attacked Ascendancy, the three of them had a good long talk about the Atharim after she was released. She didn't stay long and Nox was both happy and sad about that fact. He missed her, but she was all sorts of messed up. And he didn't need that. He loved her, he knew that but no more than he loved Dorian and Cruz and Sage. Nox had gone from only his sister to finding a whole different kind of family - one he hadn't expected.

He wasn't sure if Ivan fit into that equation yet, but he was here to help and with the Archangles hunting him, he was royally fucked. It was a good thing he'd been preparing for the eventuality that they'd come for Cruz and him. Dorian was likely fucked too. If anyone figured out where he was staying. But Dorian was already on the outs. They both had been prepared for the eventuality. They needed to talk again. Nox could slip out leave them be now that he was hunted specifically. But he hated to see all the work he did not be of use to him. It was good for Dorian and Cruz could maintain it. But it wasn't going to be the same.

"I know the Atharim that lead the strike team to the Ascendancy upon his order. It was a trap for the Atharim - specifically our leader and the head of the Archangels. Both ruthless men and both zealots. With them out of the way we could take over the Atharim easily. But they went in with weapons we didn't know about. And even if we knew we couldn't have warned the Ascendancy. There was an irijaq and em weapons. They have other ones, sonic, microwave. If you can think it up the Atharim probably have it. We have special agencies even higher than military that do that shit. We get it like the military gets their weapons. We protect humanity from the things that go bump in the night that you don't even know exists. And Gods were once the foulest of them all. But you don't want a history lesson."

Nox sighed. As much as he had hated his history and the lessons he was grateful he wasn't some idiot who knew nothing about the world and how it really worked. "Aria lead them through the bowels of the Kremlin to the Ascendancy and they used the weapons through the wall. There was nothing they could do about it. They would have died if the Sigma hadn't distracted the ijiraq for a moment. Aria told the Sigma how to kill it. She'd faced one twice before. And in doing so condemned her self to being a traitor. But she got to kill Borovsky which made her happy."

Nox shrugged. "That's what we face. I've been preparing for it for a while now. Turning Dorian's estate into a fortress. Seems like I need to work a little faster. They will come for me. But you aren't going to arrest them, Ivan. They'll kill you first and clean up the mess. Even if it were just Henrick and Stephan you wouldn't take them alive. This isn't a job for a cop. Let Dorian do what Dorian does and clean up the mess with the gods. Let me handle the Atharim."
Ivan listened, taking in the facts Nox laid out. He seemed resigned, almost as if he'd given up. They were coming for him and he planned on holing up and holding out.

He had a heard time understanding the feeling. Sure, Nox knew them and their capabilities. And they were formidable. Ivan wasn't a moron.

But that didn't really change things. An oath was an oath. Protect and Serve. He had his reasons. Not that he thought about them much, not really. But they were always there. Little Olena. He didn't think about her often, but he was who he was in part because of her.

Just as importantly, he just wasn't that guy. If he went out, he'd go out fighting. Nox probably, too, he imagined. Still, the attitude rubbed him the wrong way.

He was serious for a moment. Nox probably thought he was a dumbass but who cared. "I'm not getting out of this. What happens happens."
He then broke into a grin. Some of what Nox had mentioned sounded familiar to him. Very familiar. Might even be a lead.
"Besides, I think we have something the would shift things in our direction. Those weapons you talked about. We have our own collection, though maybe not exactly the same. Our LT and the Cap set this division up to hunt those things that 'go bump in the night' as you call 'em. We call it the Monster Squad. Most of our team are normal. They needed something to even things out."

His eyes twinkled even as he clenched his jaw in resolution. Now that he'd thought about her, he felt more than the usual fire in his gut. "Not saying it will be easy. I'm not a moron. I've got another couple people in mind we can bring in to help."
He'd message the LT, but he was pretty sure the man would authorize this mission. That's what Domovoi was for. He didn't have to mention Nox would be with them. "But between the channeling and these weapons, we'll hold our own."

Edited by Ivan Sarkozy, Aug 24 2017, 10:59 AM.
Nox sighed. "It's your funeral. But you realize we don't need special weapons to hunt Atharim. They are human. They are just highly trained in the art of murder and shadows."

Nox stood up and picked up the coffee cup full of wallet components. "The only thing those special weapons are good for is learning how to counter them, so we don't fucking die. And then they become pointless to your friends. So you have a decision to make. Do we find a way to keep ourselves safe? Because if you come with me beyond this point your life as a normal citizen dies. You become hunted by the Atharim, you are on our radar. You aren't dead because you are a cop. You get in their way hunting me, you are now a target. Dorian and Cruz. Ana, Christian, Sage - all casualties they will have no problem going through."

Nox took a deep breath and looked out the window. "I don't want to sit out here in the open anymore. Let's go back to Dorian's we can talk more. You can call your friends whoever you think you can trust. But know that there are more informants inside your unit than you know about. They probably don't even know they are informants."
Ivan listened carefully. It was a serious thing he was considering. So....what were his options? Try to stay under the radar? He was Domovoi, part of the Monster Squad. His abilities were going to become public knowledge regardless.

Which meant that no matter what, those he cared about- and those in his circle, like Vega and Cruz- where going to be at risk. The though gnawed at him. He had a family. And friends.

He thought for a long while. He remembered Uncle Pol, the way his face twisted with rage and pain, fists clenched. He'd only been a boy at the time. But he'd known Olena. His first crush. His first kiss. Inseparable. Their fathers had been at the Academy together, came up together, served together.

Both good men; honorable men; devoted men. Neither were chasing after a name or glory. But it was Pol who had made the traffic stop that night. Which turned into confronting one lieutenant or other from one of the families. Confrontation and deadly force. And suddenly one man is dead and another's life has changed forever. Pol suddenly found himself with enemies high up the food chain.

A transfer didn't matter. Protection did not matter. Someone with a vendetta had marked him out. And in the worst way possible. Equal pain.

Olena gunned down and bleeding out in Pol's arms. For Ivan, it was the beginning of futility. Nothing they did made a difference. Olena was dead. Uncle Pol was destroyed. Father's work meant nothing. Olena had died for a broken tail-light. He still remembered her laugh. For nothing.

And it felt that way for a long time, until Father had been hurt and the community rallied around him. That despite the casual cruelty and easy evil that seemed to dominate, the underlying people kept their ties and supported one another. That had been his turning point.

So now, here he was. The crossroads. These people were his enemies for many reasons. The most basic was the most simple. They wanted him dead because he existed. There would be no reasoning with them, no buying them off, no hiding, not if they were as good as Nox indicated.

So would he run? No. He would find a way to protect his own. But run or not, they were coming for him- for Nox, for Cruz and Vega and anyone else he had the balls to be born different. For Olena, he would do it. For Pol.

And for Papa. It could've Papa who'd made the stop. And then it could have been his mama or sister or brother who lay dying in the street.

He felt anger burning inside him. It was not his style, but this was not his scene either. Times had changed. He might be alone, for now, but he had people he thought he could trust. Alex. The new guy Calvin seemed like he had his head on straight- with the advantage that he hadn't been there for anything and didn't know anything. The Cap and LT. And maybe others.

He'd met the Sigma- now Consul over...whatever it was called. The Consulates always had long names. Anyway, maybe the guy could put him in touch with others like them who might help. Probably not, but in either case, if they didn't already know it, someone should start helping channelers to learn their powers and protect themselves.

"They're coming for us regardless. We're already on their radar, especially if we have a mole. So everyone in our circles are already in danger. I'd rather hunt them back than sit and wait."

He stood. "Vega's is fine. At the very least he can know what's going on. And he might have some ideas too."

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