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Bread Crumbs (IC)


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13 Janurary 2011

Elena Guerrero sat in the lotus position, hovering several feet above the floor of her private "psychic gym." It wasn't a "gym" in the traditional sense of the word. There were no treadmills or other such machines. There were weights, in a sense. Huge stone blocks, ranging in size and weight from a shot-put to a pickup truck, littered the otherwise bare sandstone facade covering the floor. The same facade covered the walls and ceilings, making the room (and the complex beyond it) appear far older and less advanced than its construction truly was. In stark contrast to the rest of the complex, which was coated with etched and painted hieroglyphics in the style of Ancient Egypt, the walls of this room were bare.

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Elena focused her attention on one block at a time. Without touching them, without moving a muscle that wasn't directly connected to her eyes, she used her psionic powers to lift them into the air, up and down and up again. She pulled them across the room, then pushed them back. Stacked them on top of each other, and then moved the stacks. She intentionally let single stones, then entire stacks, slip her telekinetic grasp, then reached out with her mind to catch them before they hit the ground. These psionic calisthenics were every bit as grueling a training regimen as that followed by any professional athlete. Elena's clothes were drenched in sweat.

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Elena did not conduct her exercises in silence. Like most rooms in her headquarters, this one had several speakers, cameras, and microphones hidden behind the stone facade, peeking out through "cracks" and other imperfections which were anything but accidental. The speakers filled the barren chamber with radio and television broadcasts, from commercial news sources and police bands alike. Her supercomputer even scanned the Internet for news postings, fed the text into a speech synthesizer, and read the content aloud to her. News entered the room in dozens of different languages, and thanks to five-thousand years of accumulated experiences over a hundred lifetimes, she understood every word.

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As she used her powers to move the stones, Elena was inundated with a dizzying array of current events, ranging from murders and executions to weather reports, and she gave them all equal half-attention. But one police-band broadcast stood out from the rest.

"...John Doe found in the Promenade, near Wading River...severe mutilation...fire damage..."

Elena nearly dropped the blocks she was telekinetically holding when the vision hit her. Behind her eyes, she saw a huge grinning skull, wreathed in flames. Fire belched forth from its empty eye sockets and jaws. Blood dripped down its face, first a trickle, then a torrent.

Elena brought the stones to rest upon the floor and sprang into motion. Whoever this man was, the investigation of his death demanded her personal involvment.

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By the time Elena had draped herself in the crimson and gold vestments of The Scarab and flown across the night sky to the muddy bank of the Wading River, the body had already been removed. But the small crowd of onlookers it had attracted remained, gathered outside the boundaries the police had set for the crime scene. She used her powers to cloak her presence from their minds, though images of the masked crimefighter hovering above the ground would show up later in more than one clandestine amateur photograph, leaving the bystanders to wonder how they missed her.

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The Scarab touched down less than a foot away from the patch of bloody ground where the corpse had obviously lain before it was driven away. Several detectives, criminalists, and patrol officers still milled about the area, but at her psychic command, they subconsciously avoided her. She turned to the crowd, briefly scanning the minds of each person in rapid succession. But none of them were a killer returning to the scene or attempting to insert himself into the investigation. They were merely curious.

With that matter settled, The Scarab turned to the scene itself. She knelt up on the ground, closed her eyes, and opened her mind, letting the emotional resonance embedded in the terrain flood into her. She saw the dead man, his bulging muscles burned and flayed open, his ribs broken free and jutting out like a perverse mockery of an angel's wings. But to her, this was no "John Doe." Mutilated though it was, she knew the face of a fellow Knight of Freedom. Her mouth fell open.


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14 January 2011

The coroner didn't know why he felt the sudden and overwhelming urge to take a break and go get a cup of coffee from the shop across the street, but his will was nowhere near strong enough to resist that urge. A cup of coffee sounded like a fantastic idea. He didn't lock any of the doors he passed through on the way, and it didn't occur to him to wonder why. He certainly didn't see The Scarab floating past him as he left.

The psychic hero levitated the coroner's discarded pen over to the tag on her fallen comrade's toe. With penmanship as skilled as though the tool were actually in her own hand, she crossed out the "John Doe" written next to "Name:," and scrawled "Orenthal Sampson" next to it.

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