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Chapter 4 of The Unlicensed

After thinking about it a bit I've come to the conclusion that I need to put George and friends out onto the web again. They're just languishing where I've currently left them and if I don't do something I'll never get back to them.

So...I've decided to put what I've got completed up and go from there in the hopes that it'll motivate me to get moving despite my current time crunch. (And yes ysabetwordsmith it's full of those dreaded -ing sentence starters. Sorry.)



"I look like an olive out of a martini." grumbled George looking himself over in the full length mirror outside the bedroom. The dark green suit and red shirt Blaze provided for him stared back at him.

"Yeah yeah..." Blaze said adjusting his hair in a similar mirror "You wouldn't know fashion if it bit you on the ass."

Looking at Blaze out of the corner of his eye George grinned, "What's wrong with a simple shirt and jeans?"

Catching his grin Blaze directed a mock frown at George, "Everything." he said pointedly. "Besides, where we're going you need to dress sharp."

The grin disappeared from George's face almost immediately "Oh no. We're not seeing the druids are we? Last time those guys kept trying to get me to test their alcohol for them."

"Yep. They're the only ones who are going to have the up-to-date mission plan the SLS is feeding the hunters. That is unless you want to get Bird to scan McKinsey's mind again." remarked Blaze finishing his hair adjustment.

"Umm...Blaze?" said George hands in his pockets.

"Yes?" said Blaze pausing what he was doing.

"When was the last time you saw me, or anyone else for that matter, manage to get Bird to do something she didn't want to do?"

"Point taken. And I believe last time you got her to do that she said it was like bathing in sticky black tar without a bathing suit." replied Blaze grabbing a small notepad off of the nearby corner table.

"She wouldn't talk to me for a week. Worse yet when she did she made me relive the experience through her eyes." George said shuddering slightly at the memory.

"All set dude? Got everything?" asked Blaze standing next to the door leading out "Better have because this place may not be available to us again. And I'm not calling in a favor to help you find a missing cufflink."

"Yeah I got everything out of my pockets before you swiped my clothes. Bastard." said George grinning once again.

"I do my best." quipped Blaze "Off to the ball."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Down an unassuming street in an area of the city known only for being unremarkable there sat a building. In a previous existence it was an old textile factory before all the jobs of that type moved overseas, one of those old style buildings with solid amber brick walls and arched brick windows on all sides. Time however had worn the building and dirtied the bricks so they were more grey than amber and now all the windows were covered on the inside with thick back paint showing no hint of the contents that may exist behind them. The only hint that this was anything other than an abandoned building was a number of cars waiting to get into the parking garage beneath the building.

"I don't know how the druids manage to keep this place secret with the amount of business they do." pondered George sitting across from Blaze in a limo with blacked out windows "I mean you think someone would have noticed by now."

"Yet another super power in play by a friend. I can't tell you more than that." replied Blaze absentmindedly lost in his own thoughts.

"Problems?" George asked looking concerned.

Looking up quickly Blaze replied "Nothing I can't handle. Believe me - stay out of it. You've got enough to handle."

"Okay dude. Whatever." George said throwing up his hands in defense "Just asking..."

"Like I said, it's not something you need to worry about." said Blaze smiling slightly rolling down the window slightly. They were about third in line now.

"Well here's hoping I can at least avoid Stinky." George said rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

"Dude! You know he doesn't like that name!" Blaze said his lips compressing to a thin line in frustration "I swear if you get me thrown out again I'll have your nuts! It took me six months to convince them I didn't do anything. Lord knows why they've agreed to let you back in."

"Not my fault the guy smells like yeast and mold all the time!" retorted George grimacing slightly "Turns my stomach just talking to the man."

"He cleans the brewery waste pipes that's where the smell comes from. Look if you can't be nice then try at least understanding a little will you?"

George grunted in response and leaned back to put his leg up on the seat. Ignoring him Blaze once again checked his appearance in the mirrored window that partitioned the space between the driver and passenger compartments of the limo.

He being an idiot again Blaze? a voice questioned softly in Blaze's head.

No more than usual Bird. Blaze replied while adjusting his shirt collar I don't know how you put up with it. I suppose love conquers all. he remarked dryly.

Just because you haven't had a relationship since the early 90's is not my fault. Bird said conjuring up the sound of a raspberry in his ear.

This from the woman making childlike noises in my auditory nerve system. I thought you were going to be too busy to look in for a while? At least that's the impression George gave me.

I managed to hammer some SLS mentalists into the pavement, so to speak, a little easier than expected. Bird this time echoing the sound of laughter into Blaze's ears. They are getting easier and easier to deal with every day. So either I'm getting stronger or they're getting weaker. I haven't had a serious issue with one of their brain-goons for almost a year now.

Don't get overconfident Bird! Overconfident people miss things and we can't afford you to get burnt. Blaze paused and then without realizing it thought Geeze. Her and George are certainly made for each other.

Helloooo? Telepath here! projected Bird I will however being the strong forward woman that I am take that as a compliment. Reaching out Bird took control of Blaze's face and winked his left eye.

Cut that out! thought Blaze his irritation getting the better of him finally And anyway we're about to enter the building so you won't be able to talk to us for much longer.

I wish I knew what kind of shield they're using on that place. I can't get much further than the parking garage. It's almost like the whole place isn't there as far as I'm concerned. Gives me the creeps. Blaze could feel the mental shudder across the connection.

I'll look into it and see what I can find out for you. It would be...useful...to have the only telepath able to penetrate the cloak of whatever that surrounds this place. Oops! We're next! Gotta go Bird!

Please take care. Bird thought Both of you. And do your best to keep George out of trouble. Please? Bird finished her voice slightly echoing as she closed the connection.

Easier said than done. thought Blaze. Much easier said than done.

As the car started down the inclined ramp into the underground parking lot Blaze looked over once again at George.

"Oh hell! Wake the fuck up you bastard!" said Blaze aloud in mock anger.

=============

The underground parking garage was nothing out of the ordinary except for being exceptionally clean in all respects. The glossy grey paint contained no spec of the oil dirt or grease ever present in the average parking establishment.
Exiting the limo George and Blaze took their place in a slowly moving line of people heading towards a small pair of red doors in a far grey wall.
After what seemed like an eternity they both stood in front of a pair of velvet ropes manned by what could only be described by the average person as a victim of malnutrition in a black suit.

"Eddie!" said George "You're still working here? I thought you and your brother moved on."

"What can I say?" the young man replied in a voice to match his features "The druids pay well enough and all I have to do here is bouncer duty. Not too tough. Once sec while I make up your key."

Reaching into what looked like a small umbrella stand to his right the young man produced a 3 foot 1/2" steel rod. Taking the rod in both hands he calmly but quickly bent the rod into an incredibly complex knotted disc with a handle along the edge.

"Here ya go George." he said handing him the disc "Give me a second Blaze and I'll have one for you too."

"No rush Eddie." Blaze said grinning slightly trying to follow Eddie's movements and failing miserably.

"There." said Eddie finishing up the last bend "Don't lose it."

"Right like I'm going to lose it in the 5 feet to the door."

"Stranger things have happened." said Eddie unhooking the rope to let them both through "Remember - one at a time and hand the key to Rick on the other side."

"Got it dude." said George grasping the handle of the door and stepping into the brightly lit white space beyond.




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