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His desk was a scattered mess of papers, sticky notes, pens, paper clips and in the middle of it all was his laptop. Caspian knew where each paper was. He could find his red pen next to the green stack of post it notes. His iPhone had been in his hands moments ago. After a long conversation, his legal side notepad was filled with scribbles, swirls and a few key words. To any other person it was a whole bunch of nothing. To Caspian it followed his thinking process as he spoke to the other person on the receiving end of the conversation.
Placing the pad on top of a stack of papers clipped with colorful clips, each representing the level of urgency which required his attention. Sure there where many apps to keep track of such things, but Caspian was old school. It brought a certain comfort to do things as he always had. He was a creature of habit not comfort, hence the chaos on his desk. Anivia had tried to ‘organize’ his chaotic habits with filing cabinets, trays and binders. They were all collecting dust in a special closet where he kept all the things Anivia had purchased to organize his life. None had worked, Caspian’s mind was simply not wired that way. He was a mix of visual and kinesthetic learning, he needed to touch and see what he was doing. An app did not have a feel to it, all the letters looked the same unless he spent time changing the font every time he needed a new one. Most importantly he couldn’t scribble with an app. Anivia had not offered to organize his desk anymore, in fact she had not offered much of anything. She had pushed him so far off her side, they hardly spoke. Now, with Lucia taking a job in the city, Anivia would finally get what she always wanted, a life without Caspian.
The Niveis brought his attention back to the present. The phone call had been from an Initia family whose child had mutated and was now a Niveis like Caspian. The story was all too familiar as he had been through the same dilemma when he was young. His mother had sent him away to save him from certain death by his father’s hand.
The female that had called him by his name had done some research. She was well informed about the Niveis tribe in Evermore Colorado. She had however omitted why she had called him and not Anivia. She had been admit that it had to be Caspian himself who would go to retrieve the child, not anyone else. They had spoken for an hour and all Caspian had to show was an address in Ohio, a phone number to contact her and a name. Oakley did not think the name was real, the woman had started saying something completely different before she corrected herself and said Mrs. Nadir.
Caspian never went along to a scouting mission. He always traveled with another member of the tribe. The elders rotated this responsibility amongst themselves. Finding the Elder, list that had been given to Caspian a few years back, he saw that the next name on the list was that of an elder by the name of Lita Okada. Caspian had never met this elder. He had seen her in meetings, and at tribal gatherings, but since Caspian wasn’t much for socializing, they had never met.
With a sigh, he made the phone call. Luckily he was sent to voice mail. Probably Miss Okada had not recognized the phone number. His three digit prefix was not that of Colorado. Caspian had refused to change his phone number. He had it for twenty years and like many other things that were twenty years old, carried a myriad of memories.
After the long beep, Caspian left a detailed message “Good evening Miss Okada, this is Mr. Oakley, I need a warrior to accompany me to a scout mission to Ohio. We leave in the morning. Please advise if you are able to accompany me. If I don’t hear by 2200 hours I will contact the next name on the Elder List.”
He hung up the phone, turned on his laptop and began to make flight arrangements. They would be taking his private jet. Caspian Oakley was a seasoned pilot.
Music blared through the shop, drum beats and musical notes all arranged on a computer deck made for mixing up songs. Current generations had named the music genre dubstep and from the moment Lita had stumbled on the complex arrangements and thumping beats she had fallen in love. There was such a wide variety from soothing pieces to play during business hours to heavy, loud songs that were perfect for exercise and training. Currently, she was listening to some upbeat songs that were great to dance to while she took inventory and stocked the shelves. The female had never liked standing still when she didn't have to unless she was on the job she was always moving and grooving.
Setting a box down on a table she sifted through the contents, making note of what she had against what was sold while her hips swung in little circles and her foot tapped along to the beat. Marking a couple of boxes with her pen the song came to an end, her head coming up as she recognized her ringtone. Cursing she took the pen between her teeth, set her clipboard down and jogged into the storefront. Dodging around a tall bookshelf filled with candles she vaulted the front counter with ease and scooped up the cell phone just as the thing went silence. Huffing out a breath around the pen Lita brought up the missed call frowning at the unrecognized number.
Shrugging the Niveis hit the home button just at the icon for voicemail popped up in the top left-hand corner of her screen. Intrigued she started heading toward the back as she pulled up the voice file and put it on speaker. The voice was familiar and the name registered immediately, a Male member of the tribe she had had limited contact with. Tilting her head she glanced at the clock, pulling up the number and shooting a text back:
Acknowledged. Travel plans?
In less than half an hour she had flight information and instructions on where to go. By that time she had closed up the store and was headed home to pack, throwing a few things in a duffel bag. After catching a few hours of sleep she was up and at the airfield at exactly 0200, her black boots thumping on the smooth tarmac of the private airstrip. Coming around a little hanger her eyebrows rose as she approached the Male Niveis standing beside a sleek jet that looked brand spanking new. “Good morning.”
Caspian had been taking aviation courses for a decade. He now had enough miles in the air to travel around the world. His plane was one of the most luxurious and powerful in the market. It wasn’t the newest model which had flaws. This was a Bombardio Learjet 75, top of the line. It seated ten comfortably and had all the amenities any one could think off. It was useful when Caspian needed to fly in the spare of the moment or had to go ‘incognito’ to save a young child from their parents. Which was the unfortunate case this time.
Oakley had received distressing news that a new Nivei had just been changed. Her Initia parents wanted her dead. To them Shelia was an abomination to be erased. The ignorance of some people had done so much harm to his race, Caspian thought as he prepared his *Princess* for flight. He had registered his flight plan to Ground Control, and packed the bar, fridge and pantry with drinks and treats. It had taken him almost five hours to prepare, but it would be worth it in the long run. His plane was small enough he could land in a field, and that’s what he was going to have to do if he planned to get there in time to save Shelia
He was dialing the elder’s number again when he heard the clack clack sound of high heels. Surprised he ended the call put his phone inside his coat pocket and turned around. A stunning woman stood ready for battle. She even had a duffle bag with clothing, Caspian assumed. “Welcome Elder Okada we have not been formerly introduced but I’m sure you know of me as I know of you. Thank you for coming. It is always better to travel in pairs, and you being a female may prove to be advantageous to our cause. May I?”
Caspian offered to take her duffle bag as they climbed the short steps into the cabin. “The plane is ready to go. Because of the delicate matter of the operation we won’t be traveling with a stewardess. Let me show you around the cabin so you can help yourself to whatever you need.” As he showed her where all the necessities the plane was equipped with, Caspian lowered a monitor, as the table became a virtual keyboard. With a few clicks, Caspian showed her the files that she would need to read while he flew to their destination.
”Once we are up at a stable latitude I will turn off the seatbelt sign and you can roam around the cabin or if you have questions you can come and sit at the cockpit. The flight will only take an hour and twenty three minutes. Do you have any questions?”
Oakley was a fastidious male when it came to research, every detail, every interview or information was properly catalogued and could be crossed reference thanks to Lucia’s software program. His daughter was a true techno genius. With pride, Oakley showed the elder how to operate the software then advised her to take a seat and fasten her safety belt.
Going to the cockpit, Caspian gave one last check to the engines, fuel and landing equipment. After he was satisfied he took off just in time. Chastising himself for not thanking the elder for coming early.
The looked on the male's face was one of surprise though she wasn't sure if it was because she had shown up or if it was due to her appearance. He seemed to take a moment to assess her before taking her greeting in stride and offering one of his own. Inclining her head she allowed him to take her bag, following him up the short set of steps up onto the plane that she had to duck to get inside. The interior was lush and smelled fresh, no doubt he had spent some time prepping for their trip and she felt a wave of appreciation to his attention to such detail. Tucking her hands behind her back Lita allowed him to give her the tour though she doubted she would need most of it, she tended to travel light and swift a force of habit her father had drilled into her.
"Thank you no. I will need none of this, I am aware of the situation and where we are going. And you must call me Lita. Elder Okada sounds so...stale." The brunette made a face, wrinkling her nose with a slight smile upon her lips. She hoped to set him at ease and perhaps make this trip a little more amiable with things a little more casual. She was an Elder but she was also a warrior and didn't hold to the usual standards of the others, she preferred to be straight forward in her baring and mannerisms. "Please, I am here to assist. Don't worry about me." She did find it interesting that he was going to be flying the plane himself. Lita had known the clan had a pilot within their ranks but hadn't had the pleasure of conversing with him until now.
Ignoring the software and all the other gadgetry the warrior followed the Male into the cockpit, sliding easily into the seat next to him. Careful not to bump or jostle anything she took the matching headset and placed it down over her ears, watching his every move with interest. He worked with a quick and comfortable efficiency she found fascinating and fun to watch, he acted as a warrior would. As if the plane were an extension of his being, every flick of a switch or turn of a dial a natural reaction that lead to the inevitable lift off of the plane. A wide smile graced her lips as she curled a leg up beneath her, her voice whispering over the intercom connecting their headphones, "I admire your skills. How long have you been flying?"
As the plane left the confines of the ground, Caspian’s heart rose with it. The experience was accelerating, he felt alive up in the sky. From his periodical vision he watched with delight as the female took everything in. She was a true warrior. Caspian was sure the brunette had taken it all in as he showed her all the amenities of his Lear jet. He had crafted the wood interior himself. Woodworking was one of his hobbies. When his baby purred as he touched each controlled Caspian was in his element.
He had been surprised, Lita had chosen to fly with him and not sit in one of the ample chairs and relaxed. Instead she had sat next to him, put on the headset so they could speak without yelling. She had taken a true interest in aviation, it made his heart sing. Caspian had very few things he felt proud of. Flying was one them.
Once the plane was at the proper altitude and told ground control he was in the air ten minutes earlier than planned, he turned to Lita with a boyish grin. "I learned aviation in Europe during WWII. I did my part to help the cause, I never knew this skill would become useful. As a scout I need to be able to go at any time of the day or night. Having my own plane made more sense than me relying on other methods of transportation." With a chuckle he added "sometimes spreading wings and going to where you need to go is not the best solution. We are going all the way to Alaska, people are very superstitious there, a plane is something they know and won’t look at us strangely."
Caspian felt comfortable with Lita, something he had not experienced with the other elders. They were warriors and as such they were closed off, focused on the mission and not much more. Elder Okada was so different.
The plane hit some turbulence, Caspian turned instinctively to the controls. They had hit a wind current, which meant he had to take them a little bit higher. The plane glided effortlessly to a higher altitude. Lita kept her cool all the time, looking and learning. He began to explain each control. "This is called a gimbal, it shows you if the plane is going up, down left or right." His eyes sparkled as Caspian continued to explain the dash.
The flight was going to take a little over four hours, with a stop in Alberta, Canada for refueling and weather report. He had checked the weather and it looked like a storm was heading their way, but if he made good time, they will be fine. By his calculations they were ahead of schedule almost twenty minutes. That gave him some wiggle room.
"Since we are doing good time, what do you think of going out for lunch while the plane refuels in Alberta?" His shoulders were more relaxed now. His confident side began to show. He had told Lita to call him Caspian, there was no need for formalities. That suited Caspian just fine.
Lita had always enjoyed flying, it was one of her favorite parts of being a Phoenix and truth be told she was glad that having her wings had carried over to their Niveis lives. If she had to live on past her own expectations than at least she could be allowed the freedom of the skies. Of course flying in a plane was a bit different, especially when she wasn't in control though she still had to admire the ease with which Caspian guided the plane through the air. She could tell it was something he enjoyed and took pride in, the look on his face something he couldn't hide. Lita found herself smiling the longer she watched him, finding it enjoyable see him almost artfully guide the plane through the skies.
Even more so the Elder loved when he began to show her the controls, teaching her some of the dials and what instruments controlled what. It was rare for a being of her age to be given such an opportunity, the ability to receive such new training was a rare treat. Her mind was quick, taking studious notes in both an avid and true want to understand how the plane worked and to gain a deeper understanding of the man himself. Sometimes learning more about a person's hobbies and interests gave you a deeper insight into the person himself, far more than questions alone might afford. His comment concerning the cause of WWII was interesting, catching her attention almost right away, "Oh? What cause was that?" She knew first hand the war was a risky business and had many different perspectives, depending on which side a person fought for the causes were all different. Interpretation was important and his answer would give her more of a clear picture of the man.
Looking through the windows she watched the landscape far below slip underneath the little plane in slow motion. Swatches of land that looked as if they had been cut out by a child and left laying on a brown carpet, an effect that was oddly beautiful in its disorganization. Eventually they began passing over mountain passes, the patches smoothed out into craggy carpets of pure green that were breathtaking with an occasional glimpse of a river or lake. "I better than anyone understand the need for subtlety in such an operation Caspian. Humans are not the most friendly when it comes to beings that are different than the are." She kept her eyes on the landscape when she spoke though there was no mistaking the sad cast to her voice as she spoke through the mic.
Sometime later his voice seemed to startle her out of her thoughts, bringing her into the present as she checked the time. The were indeed ahead of schedule and the thought of food made her stomach rumble. "I would not be opposed to grabbing a bite of something, though I must admit it's been a while since I last stepped foot in Alberta." Grinning as her mind tried to remember the exact date she firmly gave up that venture with a shake of her head, dwelling on the past was never a good idea at her age. Taking a few moments Lita slipped out of the copilot's seat to hit the restroom, scooping up the dossier she had gathered on the young Niveis they were tracking down. Once back in her seat the warrior began going over all the information they had on the young female once more, going back as far as learning what she could of her ancestry and the parents that were the reason the child needed to be saved.
"Seems as if the Initia are getting more violent in their hatred as the years go by." The comment was conversational and yet off-handed, her eyes scanning over how the child had suddenly begun exhibiting mastery over fire at a young age then by some freak accident had drown in an ice hockey accident but hadn't perished. It was the same for all of them, but immensely sad for a child so young to have to undergo and even more heartbreaking that her own parents were rejecting her for something that wasn't her own fault.