Chapter 19: "Shadows on the Horizon"

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In the years preceding the Great Cataclysm the term 'Witch' referred mostly to a female sorceress and was used as a generic term when it came to mysticism. Following the coming of the Rifts and the beginning of the second Dark Age, the true and much older meaning of the word came back into play. In modern terms a Witch is ANY mortal being who sells part or all of their soul to a powerful entity in exchange of power. Unlike normal wielders of mystic power, Witches derive all of their power from another being.

- University of New Lazlo Database (Updated 100 PA)

The false one, the one with two faces, will be revealed in the calm before the storm. In the days before the conflux, the False One will revel in chaos and death before being brought low by the savior and the warriors of light. Through the False One, the name and voice of the Forgotten Great Old One will return to the worlds of mortal men and women.

- The Collected Prophecies of Tamara Walker

GBMC/University of New Lazlo Encampment

Colonel James McCoy's Office

"I understand that you felt it was necessary to assist the locals in the cleanup of the community after the attack Colonel McCoy," Doctor Randal Copper said coldly. "Do I need to remind you that you were hired to escort and protect my expedition, not to help a bunch of hicks out in the sticks?"

The academic and the career soldier glared at one another across the utilitarian table. Neither of them willing to be the first to break their gaze with the other. Finally Colonel McCoy responded in the cool measured voice men and women in the Ishpeming Military had feared back in the day.

"Doctor Cooper," McCoy said, "were any of your personnel in danger during the attack? Have they been in danger since the attack?"

"No," Cooper responded icily, "my people are complete professionals." While thinking to himself, that the men and women of the GBMC were not.

"I would have never left you and your people vulnerable," McCoy continued his voice rising steadily. "Perhaps it never occurred to you Doctor, since you're so focused on this secret project of yours, but keeping the area secure is just as important to us as it is to the people of Red Rock."

"Obviously," Cooper said dismissively.

"Until you can point to some instance in which my team has put yours in jeopardy or have broken the terms of the contract, I would appreciate it if you watched what you insinuate about my people!" McCoy finished his voice reaching a near shout. "If you're that unhappy with us we'll be more than happy to pack up and leave. Of course then you're on own when it comes to making your way back to New Lazlo."

After several seconds Doctor Cooper responded icily, "That won't be necessary at this time Colonel McCoy."

"You have no idea how happy that makes me," McCoy replied dryly. "Now if that's all, Doctor, I have a lot to do today and I'm sure you do as well."

Glowering darkly but saying nothing, Cooper turned and left the cramped room.

"Prick," McCoy muttered as the door clicked shut. Shaking his head he returned to the paperwork he'd been doing before the Doctor's arrival. He never noticed the small metallic disk now affixed to the underside of his desk.

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