Carmichael and Carmichael investigations received a new case from Opal Donahue. The job was to investigate a possible Gifted denizen of Northport: Everett Reichart, a soldier at Fort Fitz, who makes machines act oddly in his presence. Everett was being stalked and Opal wanted John to secure the soldier so she could protect and sponsor the burgeoning talent.
John’s investigation started at Fort Fitz, where he met Foster Talon yelling at the guards. “The people have a right to know!” John found out about Project Thunderbolt, a government project to develop a floating tank with a death ray. Housed by the Special Projects Pavilion, this project required Everett’s unique talents. John made a bargain with Foster—John would get him on the base in exchange for information about Everett, the military, and the elusive Army of the Eclipse.
Foster told John that the Army of the Eclipse used to be an order dedicated to protecting mortals from magic and vice versa—much like John’s own Coriander Society. However, in the last decades, the Order was reorganized into sleeper cells as the Army of the Eclipse. John noted that this happened right around when the recent wave of Gifted humans were born, and reasoned there must be a connection.
Next, Foster and John went to Pier 42, home of the secretive Knuckle Society—a bare-boxing fight club sponsored by The Mob. Gianni Pavlo was on site to broker bets and manage the fight, along with several Triad enforcers. Everett was up next to fight, against an older soldier, Corporal Burt Goodwin. Burt was taking this fight personally, screaming at Everett about a lady from the base—Madeline, a young nurse and a point of contention between the two men. Clearly, Burt was trying to put Everett down for good, and the fight got brutal. Then, all hell broke loose!
John saw three things at exactly the same time. First, he saw Mr. Lo’s Daughter, Sun Jia, in the crowd. Second, he spotted the elusive White Ghost lurking in the rafters of the warehouse. Finally, a shooter emerged from the audience, gun aimed straight at Everett’s heart!
John, Tesh-Xi and Foster leapt into action, knocking Everett aside. John yelled at Tesh to go after the shooter and he split off to chase down the White Ghost—his primary suspect as the Angel Killer!
Over the rooftops he hunted her down. She leapt gracefully and flowed through the shadows with supernatural alacrity. Eventually he caught up, and just as she turned to fight he unleashed his magical fury to hold her blade at bay. Cornered and outmatched, she yielded and answered John’s questions. Etelvina Maite claims that she is not the Angel Killer—but she thinks she knows who is. John extracts a promise to meet again later (if she’s truly trying to track the killer, she’ll help him).
Back at the scene of the fight, Everett escaped in the chaos, but Tesh and Foster tracked down the would-be assassin. The trail led to the humble-looking Grove Apartments, which concealed a lurking threat—an entire ring of college students who are secret Omelan spies! Omelas had its eyes on young Everett Reichart, and this very night they planned an act of sabotage against the Commonwealth! Not only the nurse Madeline (also an Omelan traitor) kill Private Reichart with an injection designed to make his powers run amok, but this would cause Project Thunderbolt to fail catastrophically. Then, another team of Omelan assassins would steal the project’s blueprints and assassinate the general in charge of the Special Projects Pavilion.
John decided it was time to break in to Fort Fitz and stop the Omelans. He formed a team—Haura, Tesh, John, Foster, and Chester Morton. One team would catch Madeline and reveal her treachery while the other interceded to save General Segomo. John had the foresight that morning to plant an anchor rune on a truck entering the base; now it was a simple task to target it with a teleportation spell. Once inside, they sprang into action.
Chaos ensued! John wrapped the pavilion in an illusion of an Omelan air raid, sending the base into high alert. While the rest of them went after Madeline and successfully captured her, John charged into the observation tower and ran to the General’s office. But along the way, several bruised and bleeding strangers fled in the opposite direction. The door to the general’s office hung open, and the sounds of the air raid and thunder storm echoed down the hall.
Inside, General Segomo sat calmly, wiping blood off his hands. Several dead assassins lay around him—one killed with a desk lamp, another with a telephone, and the last strangled to death with the general’s belt. This was not a pencil pusher or armchair general. The air was charged with danger, and the cloudy grey eyes of the man before John put doubt into the wizard’s heart. Undeterred, he locked eyes, determined to find out who the man truly was.
General Leucetius Segomo is an Infernal.
Shutting the door behind him, John realized that he was in a room with a very, very dangerous man. The general didn’t need magic to kill him—he was a warrior so supernaturally dangerous, he might move too fast for John to react. So the two exchanged words instead. John learned the following:
- General Leucetius Segomo calls himself the Storm, or the War Crow.
- He was once a member of an Infernal Cyst on a distant world. When the portal network collapsed, the entire base of the cyst was ejected from that world into this one.
- Several of his fellow Infernals made the trip, but since the loss of contact with the Alliance, their uneasy relationships have fractured.
- The General holds no true loyalty to the Alliance. It was only a means to an end, the end being War. Warcrow venerates War as holy, sacred, beautiful. His only goal in life is to wage and stir up war forever.
- The General has no allegiance to his former allies. His goal now is to foment conflict between the Commonwealth and Omelas. With this latest attack, he may have what he needs to fulfill this goal.
John struck a deal with the powerful Warlord. Since Warcrow stated no interest in returning Uzhul to the world, John offered him passage back to the stronghold, if Warcrow would help John unlock its mysteries. The two parted ways with a curious pact binding them.
Meanwhile, the other team, led by Haura, executed a cunning ruse—they allowed Everett to continue with the experiment, and created the illusion of catastrophic failure. They faked his death and smuggled him out of the base. Everyone escaped successfully and John introduced Everett to Opal Donahue, adding him to the student roster.