Weeia on My Mind
Following is a short excerpt of Weeia on My Mind, my new Paris urban fantasy about superhumans, book two of the Marshals Series, published recently:
“Yes, he said that you two are friends,” Sébastien replied, raising his eyebrows in an inquisitive manner. I ignored it. “He was eager for me to bring the rings and the tube. He meant for you to have them.” He hesitated as if considering whether to continue. “He also made me promise to make sure you try them before going out in the field, and to check that you have the latest software update on your badge.”
“What am I, five?” I asked no one in particular. “I know enough to practice with new gear before depending on it.”
“In his defense I don’t think he was being a nag,” he said. “He hasn’t tested these new items properly. He was in a hurry to get them to you and ran out of time.”
“Mhmm,” I said, unconvinced.
“It’s true,” he said as if convincing me was important to him. “I volunteered to try them and he turned me down.”
His meaningful stare made me look away in discomfort. Okay, so Ernie had made it clear that he wanted to be more than my friend. I cared about him too, but we never had a chance to get to know each other well before I had to leave. Being far apart made a relationship impractical. Besides, Ernie was well settled as second only to the weapons master in the lab in Portland, and my job was in Paris for the foreseeable future. There wasn’t much I could do and dwelling on it made me blue.
“Did you?” I asked.
“Of course,” he replied, as if volunteering to try untested marshal equipment was the most natural behavior in the world. “About the software, he said you haven’t loaded the latest patches, and that you’re a tech troglodyte. I got the feeling he cares about you.”
I laughed out loud. Sébastien had a natural charisma that was contagious.
“Did he actually call me a tech troglodyte?” I asked.
His lips parted showing his teeth in a warm expression that reached his eyes as he spoke, “His words, although in his defense he spoke them with kindness.”
I chuckled. That sounded like Ernie. Anyone who wasn’t up to his or her eyeballs in the latest tech was a troglodyte. Other marshals, like Sébastien, would kill to be the first to try out Ernie’s releases similar to the ones he had sent me. I saw them as more of a chore, requiring trials, training, and temperance. Plus, he asked for detailed feedback and wanted me to take notes. While I believed there was a place and time for technology, when it came to marshals in the field I was convinced that we should rely on our own senses, training and Weeia abilities above any external devices.
It was easy to become reliant on smart phones with GPS or badge signals to track suspects and forget about good old fashioned sleuthing and self defense techniques. I had learned in action that sometimes gear failed and you were on your own. I thought of tech devices as something that was nice to have, but should never be indispensable. Ernie was convinced that without his electronic enhancements we were defenseless babes in the woods at the mercy of the first suspect that crossed our path. We had discussed the topic until we concluded the best approach was a compromise. He respected my priority in the field and I accepted his gadgets with as much graceful appreciation as I could manage.
“Okay, I’ll bite, how does it work?” I asked, amused and interested despite myself.
“Hold it here,” he said, showing me where to place my hand on the tube. “You charge it with your Weeia energy and carry it with you.” He took it back and continued his explanation. “When you need an extra boost in hand-to-hand combat like today, pull it out and zap.” He extended his arm forward in front of his torso and stabbed an inexistent opponent, motioning in the air as if he had an invisible sword rather than a small metallic tube. “It’s your own energy, but to the assailant it will be the equivalent of an electric stun. To a casual observer the device, we don’t have a name for it yet, will look like a lipstick case.”
“It reminds me of a prop from a Cold War spy movie,” I said.
Sébastien agreed, “I know, right?”
“Let me see,” I said, taking the tube from him. “Does it have a charge?”
“I’m not sure. There might be one,” he said. “I’m not able to charge it myself because it’s designed to charge with your Weeia ability.”
“Let’s spar,” I said.
He nodded in reply, taking two steps back and adopting a defensive stance. I dropped my small bag in the corner and placed the tube in my pocket. We circled, taking turns attacking each other. It didn’t matter that he was taller and bigger than me and more athletic in appearance. I had superior fighting skills and I downed him most times.
Although I began to tire I still bested him with ease. Sweat dripped from my face, threatening to fall into my eyes. He too was sweating. Strain lines pulled on the sides of his mouth and appeared on his forehead. My initial reaction was to dismiss the expression of concentration and narrowing of his eyes. It was the gentle prick of energy that alerted me something had changed. He was cheating by using his ability against me. In two motions I jabbed his midsection without warning, infusing my motion with a hint of his own energy and knocking the wind from out of his attractive sails. He dropped like a rock, grunting in surprise as he fell.
“Did you just use the tube on me?” he asked.
“Nope, I threw your energy back at you. How did it feel?” I replied.
“Awful,” he said, rising to his feet with an effort.
His brows were furrowed and his lips semi puckered. For the first time since we met Sébastien seemed to have lost his good humor.
“That’ll teach you not to cheat. It’s okay when the bad guys are playing dirty like this morning, but this here was a fair fight,” I said, feeling a little guilt at the pain I had inflicted on him, yet no remorse at having startled him. “All I did was reflect your own energy and intensity. If you’re unwell it’s because of the energy you tried to inflict on me.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
He leaned against the wall, the cheerful face had morphed into an embarrassed one. As his boss it was my job to guide him. That was what I had done. The side benefit was that I had enjoyed taking him down a notch.
It didn’t appear he was in that much pain, but his ego had suffered. His underhanded maneuver was poor sportsmanship and I had found him out. We both knew that. There was also a pleasant sensation that filled me at having bested him. For once I had the emotional upper hand and it was nice with capital letters.
“Thus endeth the lesson,” I said, attempting to soften the blow to his self-esteem. “I can’t make any promises about the plumbing down here yet, but let’s get cleaned up and take a break. Maybe your Auntie Odile will enjoy being regaled with tales of how you knocked out the two bad guys and saved the day, as long as you leave off mention of the rings.”
He rewarded me with a feeble smile. I could live with that.
Click here to buy Weeia on My Mind (The Weeia Marshals Book 2)