Unforeseen Dives – 37a – Confined

<< 36b – Trials

The noise alone could drive us crazy. Between the pounding and the insults came the tears of disheartened people. The security perimeters hadn’t been big enough to avoid casualties when the suicide bombers blew up. The crowd hated readers and soon, some of the people trapped here with us would agree. It was so easy to blame it all on us.
By my side, Rebecca flinched again. Agent Jackson caught her elbow before she went down. I helped him sit her on a bench.
“I can’t do this,” Rebecca breathed. Sweat pearled on her forehead. “I can’t keep them out.” I straightened and scanned the crowd around me.
“Ryan,” I yelled from the top of my lungs. I elbowed in the direction where I last saw him and yelled again.
“I’m here,” he said, pushing past a couple of terrified lawyers. “What is it?”
“You need to help Rebecca.” I grabbed his arm and pulled him back to where my partner sat. She grew paler by the second.
“Why can’t she keep them out?” Ryan kneeled by Becky’s side. He tried to get her to focus on his eyes but she was too far gone.
“She’s pregnant.” The hormonal shifts affected readers in various ways. It was the most likely cause for Rebecca’s lack of tolerance.
“If I’m helping her, I can’t read what’s happening outside.”
“There are other readers here, Ryan.” I forced his hands around Rebecca’s. “Keep my partner from having a heart attack because of the adrenaline overdose. I’ll handle the rest.”
Before he could argue, I hurried back in the crowd. Jackson followed me closely.
“What’s your plan?”
“Not sure. But I’m some kind of authority figure, right?” I wondered how I would manage to be authoritative in that frenzy but I had to. The few policemen and FBI agents failed to calm our panicked co-captives. Some people searched for a way out. Others froze in place. Women tend to yell their stress out at someone else. Punches might begin to fly soon.
From the corner of my eye, I spotted the telepath who served as a lie-detector in the courtroom. I grabbed her arm to stop her beeline for the restroom. One thought looped in her head: “I need to hide.” The poor woman was scared out of her wits. I faced her squarely.
“You are going to help me.” Her eyes wondered around, searching for an escape. I shook her gently and she finally focused on me. “Have you ever been in a hive mind?”
“No.” Thankfully, she replied with a thought. Her response was so faint I would have missed it had she spoken.
“I’ll walk you through it,” I broadcasted. “I need you to connect with another telepath. Just call to him and don’t lock me out.” That was fairly simple and quite frequently done by your average telepath. Once the target chimed in, I asked them both to repeat the process. My even demeanor and serious tone convinced them to obey.
“What are you doing?” Agent Jackson asked.
“Taking back the crowd”
The hive mind gradually grew until every telepath in the room, except Ryan and Rebecca, was connected with me. Some needed to be calmed down and the multiple minds connection made most of them uncomfortable. Despite the few percentage who had hive mind training, our network was strong.
“Spread out,” I mentally instructed. They obeyed and I stopped each of them where I wanted them to stand. “Now sync up.” One by one, they surrendered control over to me. The uneasiness vanished into my confidence.
“Silence!” Twenty telepaths and a psychic yelled at the same time. The boom dominated the pounding and froze the crowd in place. The sound in itself wasn’t that impressive but the perfect synchronization of my team was eerie for the non-readers. It demanded respect.
“Please sit down.” I requested through the telepathic equivalent to a PA system. Agent Jackson ogled me for a beat, then quickly snapped out of it. He began gently pushing reluctant people down and the telepaths confirmed me other law enforcement agents were doing the same in the other rooms.
“This situation isn’t easy for anyone,” I resumed through my 21 vocal chords. “Let’s not make it harder by losing our cool. That’s what the people behind this want. We are stronger than that.” The people who were tempted to argue against me were too stunned by the way the speech was delivered they didn’t dare to speak up. “The SWAT team is on its way. They are going to get us out of here safely. Let’s not hurt ourselves in the mean time.”
Seconds before, the courthouse was ablaze with blind, run-for-your-life panic. Now, it settled into huddle-with-your-loved-ones fear.
“Definitely an improvement,” Agent Jackson echoed to my thoughts. I approved with half a smile.
Once I was sure the hive mind was obsolete, I freed my assistants. The crowd’s anger outside didn’t seem to blow away but at least, the efforts of a handful of men on our side kept them from breaching our perimeter.
I needed to check on Becky.
I headed back to my partner’s location. The telepath I used to start the hive mind followed me.
“What’s your name?” I asked over my shoulder.
“Irina.”
“I’m Cassidy.” She probably already knew but I’d rather be polite. “Thanks for helping out. You don’t have to stay with me anymore.”
“I prefer to be there in case you need it.”
I stopped long enough to shake her hand. She didn’t have any training but the trained agents I knew where holding hands three meters away from me. She wanted to help.
Rebecca smiled at me when I approached.
“I’m good now.”
“As long as I keep people out of her head.” Ryan added.
“That’s alright. I’ve enrolled a temporary partner.”
“Don’t let her get in trouble,” Rebecca joked. Irina nodded stiffly, and then cleared her throat.
“Hmm… The SWAT team is calling the telepaths here for information.” Irina said. “They’re wondering if you would like to take care of that too.”
With a sigh, I grasped Irina’s hand to connect through her with the telepath on the SWAT team.

37b – Confined >>

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About Aheïla

Somewhere in Quebec City, Aheïla works as a Game Design Director by day and writes by night. Known for her blue hair, unyielding dynamism and tasty cooking (quails, anyone?), she’s convinced “prose is the new crack”. She satisfies her addiction daily on The Writeaholic’s Blog and weekly on Games' Bustles View all posts by Aheïla

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