"We got reports of explosions at a school, Rain. You got time to investigate?"
"Sure Garcia," I replied. "I have spare time."
Garcia sent me some sparse info. It wasn't much to go on, but I wasn't expecting much. Getting the details would be my job after all.
I made some calls to a few TV stations in the area. The reporters weren't very helpful. The police seemed to be still deciding what to do, wanting to proceed cautiously for the sake of their people, which was perfectly understandable. My calls to school administrators were much more helpful. They were in direct contact with teachers who had witnessed what happened.
By the time I got through to the teachers though, police reports were coming in about new incidents in the area, beyond the school. Something had to be done quickly, even if we didn't know all the details yet.
My team had already found a specialist who lived in Lincoln County and were prepping her. "Christa, we may have a new mission partner for you," I messaged her. "We'll be providing you with whatever details we learn, as they come in."
By the time Christa was close to the scene, where she was going was getting easier to spot. All they had to do was follow the trail of smoke rising into the evening sky.
Carrie could hear the police sirens coming, even above the wind that was now swirling wildly around her.
"No," she thought to herself. "I don't want you here! I want you to go away!"
With that, the wind around her began picking up trees, uprooting them and creating a circle of flying shrapnel with her at the center. Beyond the dust, smoke, and haze, Carrie could just make out the flashing lights of patrol cars. They had stopped, no longer advancing. But new ones were arriving.
"No! I don't want you here!" Carrie repeated aloud, but nobody heard her except herself ...and Christa.
Christa was still with the rest of the officers along the police-line.
"Something's going to happen," Christa said to the officers around her. "Prepare yourselves."
Carrie inhaled sharply, her breath stopped for a moment, and a pulse came out of her forehead. The pulse surrounded Carrie's body in an instant, and then the rest of the town in the next.
Suddenly all was black. Carrie was alone in the universe. No storm, no fire, no trees, no earth.
Carrie watched the nothingness for a few minutes, catching her breath, trying to go over everything that had been happening to her today in her mind. She didn't really want to think about it. It was too much.
She just wanted to sleep, to rest in the darkness forever. Carrie floated there, not moving, for what she suspected was many hours, before she started to wonder where she was and what had happened to her.
"Why are there no stars in the sky?" she thought, as stars began to appear.
"Why am I floating in space?" she wondered, as she started feeling solid ground under her feet again.
She looked around more carefully. She was still in the midst of the devastation she had caused, but there was no storm now. Everything was still, and quiet. The patrol cars were gone. She started walking, aimlessly, looking for people, but found none.
"We have her contained," Christa told me. "Yes, I can see her now. She is wandering the vicinity. She cannot see us."
"Thanks Christa," I told her. "You have probably saved a lot of lives today."
I reported Christa's status over to Garcia, who seemed more pleased than usual.
"I want to send another team to help you," Garcia said.
"Why?" I asked. "I think we have things well under control now."
"I just have a bad feeling about this, Rain," she said. "Just let me do this to put my own mind at ease, OK?"
"Alright Garcia, as long as the new team doesn't get in our way."
I wasn't too worried though. Garcia was always a joy to work with and I always trusted her judgment, though stuff like this was something she rarely did.
I contacted Christa again. "Status on your mission partner, Christa?"
"She seems to be doing fine. Mentally maybe a bit confused, but physical vital signs appear stable."
"Thanks Christa, can you accompany her throughout the rest of the day until she makes it home? You can let the officers go now."
"Roger that, Rain."
The patrol cars began to drive off, many officers as confused now as Carrie was, but it was no longer their concern. We were taking over.
"Oh, one more thing Christa. Garcia may be sending another team to help."
"Seriously?" came the reply. "What does she think we still need?"
But we didn't discuss it much, as Carrie was now wandering off into town, and Christa had to run after her.
"Where did everyone go?" wondered Carrie, searching the streets for people.
Some lights began appearing in distant homes. That comforted her somewhat. "Maybe it's time to go home," came a voice in Carrie's head.
That startled her a bit, since she wasn't sure if it was her own voice, but it sounded reasonable, so Carrie turned towards home.
When she arrived, Garcia's second team was waiting for the both of them. They handed Christa new orders and hustled the both of them into a car outside.
"Are you sure we should be doing this?" Christa asked, as Carrie stared off into space, thinking she was at home watching TV.
"I don't know about Garcia anymore," was the reply. "She hasn't been herself ever since this whole Carrie thing."