Prologue: Vanished - The New Millennium Universe
Phillip David stretched lazily before rolling over to look at his companion. He thought of her as his girlfriend but Sharon Kohler wasn't willing for that sort of commitment from Phillip.
Rubbing his eyes to clear the sleep from them he smiled as he took in Sharon's sleeping backside. The blanket on her side had been kicked off and the over-sized football jersey she always wore to bed had ridden up so that it was bunched around her abdomen. Bending forward, Phillip kissed her offered bare flank.
That kiss soon turned into a hug as he squeezed her pelvis, "Uhh ... no not now..."
Rising to kiss her cheek, "Shhh, go back to sleep, I am just cuddling."
Sharon rolled over on to her back, still asleep, to hug Phillip back, her face turned away from Phillip and her chest slightly rising with each breath she took.
Phillip chewed on his lip; he did have a morning hard on and even though he didn't act it, he constantly craved sex. He debated if he was going to resist the urge that he was suddenly feeling.
Sharon was seven years his senior and their companionship had one major cause that kept them together; they were both deformed. Phillip suffered a horrendous accident when he was at the 'school' in upstate New York years earlier; that accident left his penis misshaped and scarred. It was thin and because of the scar tissue warping the length and its head, always semi-hard. It could get harder but never could it go completely limp or soft. The glans was also misbegotten with a vicious slash separating it so that less than half of the left side was shrunken and not uniformed with the larger right side.
As much as Phillip wished Sharon slept naked, he only had to look down at the boxers that he wore to bed each night to see how much of a hypocrite it would be of him to ask Sharon to do that.
Phillip met Sharon when one of the psychiatrists that he worked with introduced them. The psychiatrist did so because Phillip was not willing to have a relationship with anyone, "normal". Being called 'pig dick' hurt more than any mere words should have.
Sharon had her own scars; in her case it was her missing mammary glands from when she had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. Like some breast cancer survivors; Sharon was going on four years, she opted to not have any re-constructive surgery, not even tattoos in lieu of her missing nipples and aureoles. Instead she had two wicked raised scars that were still angry red and outlined where her womanly breasts had once been.
She had refused re-constructive surgery because she had been very angry that her body had failed her. That anger lasted over three years and when she was ready to join the world; she had gotten used to her scars and sometimes even thought of them as badges of courage.
Dating was not easy; she had met numerous men who were nice, sweet and gentlemanly but all of them had issues when they saw her naked. Too many times her lovers could not get or stay hard while they were with her. A couple of men were fine if the bedroom was dark, but Sharon liked to fuck in the light; she liked to look at her lovers.
Sharon had been starting to worry; she knew that in New York City; there had to be at least ten or twenty guys who could accept her as she was but she wasn't finding them. She broke down and told her shrink. Her shrink had stayed with Sharon when she was not a particularly nice person, when she was down and needed their particular brand of caring. Her shrink had a side job with the UN and thought she knew the perfect man for Sharon.
Sharon didn't think Phillip was perfect for her but they were a good fit and Phillip had no compunction with Sharon's scars. He did have compunctions with his own scars and unfortunately, that hang-up more often than not reared its ugly head in the bedroom.
Phillip hated his penis even though Sharon thought it looked fine (what penis was gorgeous to begin with?) and she loved oral sex but Phillip refused; he hated the thought of a female's mouth near his twisted penis.
Sharon didn't understand that quirk and didn't think it was a mouth that had shredded Phillip's penis; an event that Phillip did not talk about and Sharon did not press, much.
Phillip acted; slowly he pushed the Jets jersey higher and higher until he could start to see the welt like scars on Sharon's elevating chest. He knew to be especially careful around the raised scars because they were sensitive. When the thin jersey was bunched as tight as he thought he could get away with under Sharon's chin his right hand moved to the inverted area that used to hold a mammary gland. Slowly, gingerly he caressed the uneven skin that showed bone protrusions of Sharon's ribs.
Phillip didn't know why he was drawn to Sharon's scars when he hated his own scars even though his penis was fully functional and if he was forced to he could admit that the larger right side of his glans was even more sensitive now than it was prior to the 'accident'.
As he continued to caress his lover while she murmured in her sleep Phillip's penis throbbed. The beast wanted out of its cage; the pig dick.
When Phillip broke up with his college sweetheart Stacy he broke her heart. When all of her pleading and begging resulted in naught she got angry and struck out the only way she knew that Phillip would feel the same pain she was feeling; she told him to keep his ugly pig dick away from her.
Stacy was like Phillip; both were Para's, gifted with paranormal abilities. In Phillip's case, he could form an electromagnetic 'field' around him that he could shape into rudimentary forms. The forms were mostly simple shapes like wings, swords and shields and there was a severe limit on how far the forms could be manifested away from him. There was three advance forms that he taught himself how use. Two forms were; ultra thin tentacles which he could use to 'feel' up to ten feet from his body; and compressing and 'wrapping' the 'field' tightly around his body which granted him paranormal speed, strength and leaping abilities.
The last form and the one the Phillip was most proud, of because it took extreme concentration to pull off, was a shell or cone formed around his body with his field 'spinning' rapidly inside the cone. With his field spinning and compressing the air sucked in the cone near Phillip's head, it would come out near his feet as a thrust of air that could propel Phillip upwards at hundreds of miles per hour.
Stacy's Para-ability was more mental; she was an empathic projector who specialized in manipulating the mind's erogenous zones. Both had their issues and in the end neither had been able to work through them and Phillip decided to end their relationship when he decided to move back to New York state after graduating college at age 19.
Phillip shook his head out of his reverie and went back to concentrating on his current girlfriend. For a long time Phillip was unhappy and thought that moving to New York was a mistake but being with Sharon made him very happy. His heart swelled and he bent to kiss her lovingly on her forehead.
His lips never touched because a loud alarm sounding in his sub-dermal receiver; it was a long multi-pulsed alarm that told Phillip that someone in the UN Security Council Paranormal Peace Keeping Force had been attacked.
Jumping from bed Phillip turned the annoying buzzer off and sent out a loud mental broadcast, "This is Field, standing by."
In the thirty nine seconds it took for a reply to come back Phillip had thrown off his boxers, pulled on a jock strap and his blue jumpsuit and was pulling his left boot on.
"Field, RG3 over."
Phillip nodded in recognition of the Psi-Tech on the other end, "Roger RG3, what's the buzz?"
"SG1 sent out the alarm, Steelwolf was on a takedown and went offline. NYPD-PD is on hand can't find SW."
Ronnie Galbraith understood Field's confusion because information was still scarce, "Say again, Sierra Whiskey is offline and body cannot be found. NYPD has containment."
"Roger that, I am in route what is the six?"
"A warehouse in the Bronx along the Hudson River. Do you need a pickup over?"
"Negative, I will fly there myself; when I hit the Bronx I will stop for directions, over."
"Roger that, standing by until you contact me."
"Going offline in thirty."
Phillip had finished putting his boots on during the quick mental conversation and was sealing the Velcro tabs of his jumpsuit when he heard a voice behind him, "Going somewhere lover boy?"
Looking to the balcony door, Phillip quickly crossed over to the bed and kissed Sharon on each cheek, "Duty calls."
For a long time Phillip kept from Sharon that he was a Para and was a member of the UN's Blue Team; he just told her that he worked security at the UN. When Sharon's high rise was condemned after Assault Monger damaged it trying to slay the New York Spider, Phillip naturally offered his place for her to stay. It was only after she said yes that he confessed who he really was.
Sharon predictably got angry with him more for his duplicity than the fact that he wasn't exactly normal and had a very dangerous job. Her anger quickly dissipated after she saw him fly off their fortieth floor balcony a couple of times. She had known quite a few female friends who wanted nothing more than to snog a Para and there she was living with one.
It wasn't until she saw Phillip and the Blue Team on live TV battling the War Monger, trying to stop his rampage that she truly understood what she was involved with. She dealt with that anxiety by refusing to talk to Phillip about his 'job' and not watch or read any news.
She surprised herself when she raised her hand to touch Phillip as he walked away; it was only when Phillip was on the balcony and turning to wave goodbye to her that she lowered her hand. She watched him squat down, pause like he was concentrating and then he was gone; flying away. Lying back down she grabbed Phillip's pillow to bear hug it while she closed her eyes and wished she could go back to sleep.
Phillip loved flying; even before his power manifested his one constant wish was that he could fly. Now he could and thrilled at every second he was airborne.
His initial powered jump threw him close to four hundred feet further in the air; at the apex he dived down to pick up speed before deploying his field like a streamlined hang-glider that quickly threw him back up into the air. He repeated this process multiple times as he followed the Hudson River. He wanted to conserve his endurance and only twice summoned his 'rocket field' to move him faster towards his goal.
About ten minutes later crossed over into the Bronx and landed on the roof of a riverfront property.
His field had one other dynamic that he generally considered a boon but at times like this it was more of a drawback. When his field was manifested it provided him a strong shield against mental attacks as well as blocking all forms of telepathy. The sub-dermal receiver was totally useless to him while his field was up and so in cases like now, Phillip needed to land and lower his field so he could rejoin the Psi-Tech's network.
RG3 was waiting for Phillip's mental call and he soon was on his way back in the air in the right direction. Once Phillip got close all of the flashing lights from New York's Finest told him he was in the right spot.
After briefly circling the warehouse in question to ensure there was not a standoff ongoing Phillip landed in front of the tractor trailer that showed obvious proof that Steelwolf had been there.
The police officers and emergency personnel present ignored Field as he stood there taking in the scene; Phillip thought about asking for the Officer in Charge but instead lowered his field, "SG1?"
"Inside the warehouse, next to the truck."
Nodding, Phillip started towards the loading bay thankful that the police officers were ignoring him while the emergency crews were giving medical care to the gang members that apparently Steelwolf had taken down in his usual fashion.
Once inside the empty warehouse Phillip saw SG1, the only Psi-Tech present, and four officers standing next to a closed door frame free standing near the middle of the cavernous floor. The four officers seem to be talking about the smoke wafting up one side of the doorframe.
"Sit-Rep", he called to SG1.
"SW was called to take down a perp by the moniker of Crimson Rook. CR is an unknown quantity but apparently has been providing gang bangers with advance weapons. Gang bangers went down fine but when SW went after CR I lost him. He just went off the scope. I called the alarm after the PD stormed the place and couldn't find any trace of him. Captain Bradshaw, the female, is in charge."
Phillip just stood there taking everything; SG1's report, the lack of activity by the police, the missing body of his teammate and the door, smoking on one side but going nowhere.
"You said that they had complete containment?"
"Correct, they had two UAV's up and one in the sewer. No one exited after SW entered."
"And the door?"
"No fucking clue."
"Have you opened it?"
"I didn't but I think one of the PD's did. They let slip that the smoke was not coming from under the door but from the doorway. I think they opened it and then closed it."
"Is it free standing?"
"They haven't tried to move it to my knowledge."
Moving forward to introduce himself to the four officers, two of whom were in Linebacker Non-Powered Armor similar to AM-RAM's but Phillip was sure that they didn't have Tony's zeal.
Talking directly to Captain Bradshaw, "I am Field, the Ugandan Representative to the UN Security Council Para force Blue Team. I have been briefed by the Psi-Tech on premise about the actions leading up to my team mate going missing do you have anything new to add?"
The officer on the right in patrolman's uniform scoffed, "Ugandan, boy you don't like African to me. Hell you don't look African American to me!"
Phillip was used to that reaction. He was not black. He was not from Africa. He was not from Uganda. He was a white male originally from Virginia.
When the United Nations set the guidelines for forming the Blue Team it was agreed that each nation in the Security Council would provide a representative with the five permanent member states providing two representatives so that the Blue Team would number twenty is size. The main hurdle to this proposal was that some states did not have an acceptable Para that would qualify as a representative to the Security Council.
The solution was three fold; the member state did not submit a representative but instead paid an additional monetary fine each month to the Security Council to help compensate some of the costs the Blue Team incurred. The second option was to allow another member nation submit a Para in their stead; currently this is the case with two members of Blue Team, Steelwolf of Canada serving for Vietnam and Electra of Sweden serving for Burkina Faso.
The third solution was the one that met the most resistance; allow that Member State to propose an expatriate as their representative. This was objected to because it felt that those Para's would be little more than mercenaries. After much debate expatriates were allowed but they would fall under additional scrutiny; both psychologically and communally.
It was a hassle but Phillip believed in what he was doing and did not fret over abandoning his US Citizenship; if he didn't believe in what he was doing he would have stopped after his first tour for Panama.
Captain Bradshaw snapped her displeasure at someone under her command, "That is enough Anders; go check on the perimeter like we were talking about."
Anders wiped both sides of his full mustache, "Yes ma'am," and left without looking back.
Looking Field squarely in the eyes, "I have read your file, while your 'field' may be sensitive to the touch I don't have a clue how you are going to help us find your missing comrade or the perp."
Field nodded in understanding; while the City of New York may have requested Para Support for an operation; that operation was over and a strict combatant like Field was no longer needed.
"I agree Captain but since a member of Blue Team has gone missing, I must try to do all that I can to find him or figure out what happened to him. The Blue Team, as you know, has extensive resources and we will not rest until we have used all of them."
Phillip grimaced on the inside to throw out such a cheesy line that could be construed as mere posturing but sometimes with the world governments that is how you had to play it.
Before the pomposity could go further, SG1 and her artificial deep voice sounded out in a low voice intended for Field but loud enough for all present to distinguish from the background noise, "Boss."
Phillip turned towards SG1 and smiled. The 'Boss' in question was his boss; current leader of the Blue Team; a woman who brooked no political bullshit fulfilling her role. When he looked back at Captain Bradshaw, the half grimace on her lips told him that she too understood SG1's warning.
The air next to Field shimmered and his boss was there.
The NYPD Captain did not bother extending a handshake in greeting because she knew that the woman from France really wasn't there, "Farscry" she instead said with a nod.
"Captain Bradshaw," sounded directly into everyone's mind, "It is good to see you again."
Farscry had the telepathic ability to project her conscious great distances; mentally it was just as if she was there with them in the warehouse in the Bronx while her body was at the Blue Team HQ in Jamaica Bay in Long Island.
The Captain was not pleased to see the Blue Team leader, "So does this mean more 'cykes' were on their way?"
"Yes Captain Bradshaw, we are mobilizing the Psi-Techs; their Hawker will be there within four minutes. Now, SG1 thinks that one of your men has already opened the door. Is this correct?"
Captain Bradshaw spit out the nicotine gum she had just put in her mouth; scrunching her nose first at Farscry and then SG1, "Kowalski, repeat what you saw when you bone-headedly opened that door."
Officer Kowalski was one of the two in the Linebacker armor, holding his pot helmet in his right elbow stepped forward. Speaking with a heavy nasal Brooklyn accent that matched his high bridged nose, "I entered the building not more than forty five seconds after Steelwolf did when the word was passed by your Psi-Tech that the thugs were down. There was a slight flash of light that drew my attention to the door as it closed. I moved to investigate the door and saw the smoke pouring from one side but not the other. I..."
Officer Kowalski paused because he knew he had screwed up; in the new world of Paras, opening a smoking doorway going nowhere was inviting jeopardy.
Not finding a better recourse, the Officer squared his jaw and continued. "When I opened the door, the smoke was coming from the middle of the open doorway but when you looked to the other side there was no smoke. I can't explain it," hesitating while he searched for a better way to describe what he had seen he looked at the Paras, " ... a 'field' of some sort and the smoke was coming from it."
Farscry's image nodded, "And what else did you see?"
More sure now, "The side with the smoke had fading light streaks in it but the other side had no smoke."
Phillip moved to exam the door frame closer. The door frame was non-descriptive outside of being white and having smoke emanate from under it. The door handle was a shiny brass knob with no apparent locking mechanism. Going down to his knees to get a closer look at where the door frame met the concrete floor, "This looks to be free standing. I don't hear any type of sound coming from the door."
Turning back to the Officers, "Did the door make any noise when it closed? Did your UAV's pick up any energy or sound spikes when the door closed?"
Officer Kowalski answered first, "No sir, no sound, just a dim flash; nothing bright just enough to catch the corner of my eye."
The Captain continued, "I am having our techs poor over what the UAV's and our other sensors recorded now. These are my best techs and if there was something to be found, they would have gotten it already."
Phillip nodded closed his eyes and turning back to the door frame summoned his field. Reaching out from his fingers he formed tendrils that hovered along the door frame without touching. He thought he felt something but wasn't sure. Moving down to the base of the frame focused on one tendril until it compressed upon itself, getting thinner and thinner.
Gingerly he ran that tendril along the base of the door frame. When he felt nothing he slowly slid the tendril under the door frame; it was a tight fit but he did not stop until he was able to swipe under the entire door frame.
Opening his eyes he sighed deeply before sharing his results, "The frame is free standing; there is no power cords coming from the concrete floor."
The Captain nodded, "That was our guess too. This place does not have a basement and there are no signs of the floor being dug up."
Before the conversation could be taken further, the whining noise of a landing Hawker outside intruded. Shortly four more individuals were seen marching inside the warehouse, each wearing the MorningStar helmet.
Farscry made the introductions, "Captain, this is RG2, AN1, AN2 and TB1, they are our best 'sniffers'. If there is any psychic residue they will find it."
The four support staffer's appearance turned out to be anti-climatic when they reported that they could not detect what happened to Steelwolf, where Steelwolf was or what was happening with the smoke still wafting under the free standing door frame.
There had been much discussion about what the door frame was and how it operated. The most common thought was that it was a gateway somewhere but teleportation was not a Paranormal ability that prevalent or understood so it was pure speculation on how it worked if it was an actual gateway.
Phillip was squatting, while pondering the door frame when Farscry 'approached' him, "Field, I want you to come back with SG1 to HQ for debrief."
"No buts, Phillip. You have done what you can. We have nothing to go on."
"But we aren't..."
"No Phillip, we aren't giving up on him. But you can't help anymore there and you have to debrief before the 'meet and greet' with the new DepSec. In an hour a sensor unit from Hoetept will arrive to do an in-depth scan of the building, if there is something to be found they will find it. Now come back to base with SG1."
Phillip looked around the warehouse; most of the police units had already left, leaving the CSI unit and a few squad cars as support. Captain Bradshaw had already gone back to her command vehicle and would probably be leaving shortly as well. Turning until he saw the form of SG1 walking away, towards her Hawker; Phillip suddenly felt a wave of dread was over him. One of his comrades was gone and no one had a clue where he was or even if he was still alive. Would that happen to Phillip? Would his comrades give up on him so quickly? Because that is what Phillip was feeling, Steelwolf was gone and Blue Team was moving on without him with nary a look back.