Redhawk's Vision Becomes a Mission

SCA Redhawk sat alone in his quarters on a wicker chair, eyes closed, tapping out a steady rhythm on the deer-skin drum he held in his left hand. It was the rhythm tribal shamans of the Cherokee Nation used when they sought to make a "shamanic journey."

Redhawk hadn't set an intention, instead choosing to go wherever the trance-like meditation took him. Within minutes, his spirit was hovering just below the clouds of an intense storm over a very rough sea. From the fog emerged a ship -- a pirate ship -- clad with giant sails and flying Blackbeard's Jolly Roger.

On the deck stood Blackbeard himself, seemingly impervious to the driving rain and brutal sea. He shouted orders at his men as they battled the elements with all their might. They could not lose the great "Queen Anne's Revenge" to the savage storm.

Redhawk felt his spirit begin to descend toward the water. He watched as the great ship drew ever closer. Just when it appeared the ship would crash through his spiritual existence, it dissolved, disappearing into nothingness right before his eyes.

A few minutes later, Redhawk's spirit had returned to his physical body. He was awake and alert, though a little tired from the energy used to create this shamanic experience. He sat for a moment, thanking the ancients for the vision they had given him, and collecting himself a bit.

He then set out to find Agent Zero.

He checked Zero's office, then the mess hall, and finally the Operations Center, where he found the Chief.

"Redhawk," Zero said, standing to greet his friend and teammate. "Have a seat. I was just running footage of an apparent anomaly off the coast of North Carolina. I've asked Barbara to look into it, but I haven't heard from her yet. It looks to be a..."

Redhawk quietly raised his right hand. Zero knew from experience that his questions were about to be answered.

"Agent Zero, I have completed a great shamanic journey that has taken me to the place where I could observe this anomaly."

Zero knew not to ask if Redhawk was sure or for any other proof. Redhawk's proof was his history of being right.

"There was a great storm. Violent seas. Thick darkness. Thicker fog. In the midst, was a great ship."

Zero rubbed the chin of his mask, as people do when they're thinking or enthralled with a story. He was both.

"Facing danger in every form, was...the Queen Anne's Revenge."

"Blackbeard?!" Zero almost shouted, stunned and excited. "Of course. His wreck is off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I should have known."

"There is more," Redhawk said softly but diretly. "I believe that Blackbeard remains with his ship."

"I'm listening, but Blackbeard was killed on land by British troops. They even stuck his head on a pike to warn others against piracy."

"Such is the story," Redhawk grinned. "But you are familiar with doppelgangers, I'm sure."

"I see where you're going with this."

"It was revealed to me that Blackbeard was killed with his men on the Queen Anne's Revenge. The anomaly you see is a ghost ship. It continues throughout history to try to survive the storm. It is an extension...a spiritual mirror image if you will...of the nearby wreck, where Blackbeard and his crew rest."

"Redhawk, you realize we have to investigate this anomaly, right?"

"I do. Though we Cherokee believe the physical and spiritual planes are one, we understand that others must learn of the spiritual plane for themselves. You will find the connection I speak of."

"I want you there."

"It is not for me to prove to you the connection, Agent Zero. For your own growth comes only from learning the ways of the spiritual world for yourself."

"Redhawk, you are the connection to the spiritual world that I understand. I trust you. And I don't have a replacement for your spiritual knowledge on the team. Please don't make me..."

"You don't have to order me to deploy with you, Zero. Against my better judgment, I will join you."

"Excellent. I want you to return to your quarters and prepare for a 3-day deployment. I'll assemble a team to join us."

Zero pressed a button on a control panel that sounded a brief alarm throughout the building; signaling that a deployment to investigate an anomaly was imminent.

"Lyons, Sanders, Agent Spartan, and SCA Charon," report to the Ready Room for deployment briefing. Let's move, people."

The announcement left The Storm Syndicate with not one, but two questions. What kind of investigation is this, sure. But who is Charon?

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