Claws of the Blue
Murdered by the Cossack in Sixteenth-Century Imperial Russia, Sergei does not die. Compelled by the force which gave him life, he and his descendants must fight evil wherever they find it.
Since the Cossacks murdered him 400 years ago, Sergei fought those who wished harm to the people around them. He found and lost love in many countries over the centuries, but today he and Jeanne, the only child of his current family, partnered in the work of Blue Talon. Together they intervened in the life of a young man who carried the seeds of genuine evil buried in his DNA. Later they tackled crime and green on a greater scale.
Although often longing for death, Sergei must submit to the duty imposed by the mysterious blue force extending him long life and health. To shirk the dictate imposed a greater price, an insatiable craving and addiction impossible to satisfy. The blue infused his descendants making them share his fate.
Jolted by the cholera death of his German wife in the early nineteenth century, Sergei, now a successful doctor, joined his surviving son Friedrich and daughter Hilde in Sweden. A chance read of an article reporting the exploits of the Pinkerton Agency in the United State. Inspired, the three set up a similar organization to carry on their work, they immigrated to the new world.
The organization they found infiltrated the Pinkerton Agency to observe how their methods. Armed with this knowledge, the trio modified and improved on what they found to use on their own cases. With the internet, they located other members from many of Sergei’s families. As a result, they introduced and incorporated them into the association Blue Talon grew worldwide, solving crime, preventing corporate theft, and working behind the scenes when crimes by nations committed during two world wars and other injustices.
Still, no challenge seemed as daunting to Sergei as being a single father to a modern-day daughter, a daughter who spoke her mind, said no when no one else dared, mouthy, opinionated, bright and boisterous. Free to be a friend and a father, Sergei nurtured their close relationship.
When Blue Talon drafted before she was into her teens as the only one qualified to intervene with another her age, she told them no. No one ever said no before. When the gasps stopped, after some eloquent persuasion, she agreed, but only if Sergei served as her partner. Friedrich, as director of Blue Talon, uprooted the two and put them into a new state, a new life with a new name, the first of many identity shifts.
Rob, the ‘subject of Jeanne’s assignment, was a nerd’s nerd with a facial abnormity, not a prime candidate as a companion for a teenage girl. She persevered and after ‘mother-henning’ him through grad school, her offbeat solution achieved success.
The paths of Sergei and Jeanne crisscross over as they took on new assignments. In an ultimate mirroring of his life, she was a murder victim and dead too soon. What they will face in the future depends on the Blue.
“Do I have to repeat myself?” I asked the stony-faced persons facing me. Drawing my body up, I added, “Both of you agreed six months ago you would not attempt to enlist Jeanne and me for at least three years. Is your word of no value? “
My two eldest children stood shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the entryway. “But Papa…,” the taller and male half of the duo began.
My answering scowl silenced him in mid-word, but his companion continued unfazed. “You know we wouldn’t be here under ordinary circumstances, but what we face now is a disturbing, frightening situation. Our computer model at HQ shows Jeanne as the most ideal for addressing it—our best hope to avert a potential and disastrous chain of events.”
“Valentina,” I said, trying to be patient with my oldest living offspring, “No. No not now. Unearth someone else. That gigantic computer network identifies more possible volunteers than ever we could in times past. Do a new search. Jeanne is too young and lacks the knowledge even the greenest family member in the field possesses. Did you both forget I was already sixteen when I first encountered the Blue? No one less mature is ready to face the challenge fate has tasked us to do.”
“But, Papa,” she began.
“No. I agreed many times with your regimen of pulling our young ones into training camps. I’ve joined you in the field when you called and given advice when asked. My answer is no.”
Valentina responded much as I expected. Her uncompromising stance conveyed her opinion of my unequivocal answer. On this occasion, she showed more than simple reproach. She radiated disapproval mixed with disrespect. They’d come assuming my capitulation despite my often ungracious and often reluctant acquiescence in the past. They’d been wrong this time.
“I mean to hold you to your word,” I said.
Met with their silence and trampling down my inner sadness, I opened my arms and embraced both. I did love them. They did not ask to be what they were. Nor did I. I grasped both their shoulders and turned them around toward the street. I smiled as I motioned them to their car. For now, I had prevailed.
“Until we return then, Papa, do svidaniya,” she said.
They turned and left without another word. Afterward, my eyes were moist, and my spirits sank. The pleasant afternoon was only a wistful memory.
Yet, I recognized one day soon I’d have no alternative. My youngest, well beloved, and talented daughter, Jeanne would face a challenge as her siblings had before her. When that day arrived, I must lay on another of my children a burden imposed on me and mine so long ago.
On some future day, one I had dreaded since her birth, my carefree daughter would enter a world her friends would never know. My head sagged as unbidden images of her flooded my mind. The mental picture of my chubby toddler holding my hand, the same as a gangly tomboy, and an inconsolable daughter sobbing for her lost mother
I was twice sad because I was the person most responsible for the way she was, the way she must become. When Jeanne was small, she said, “Daddy, some of my friends say you talk funny? Like somebody from an old book? They sometimes giggle when you talk.”
I had made her no answer. How could I tell her I was over three hundred years old?