Dark Planning

The party wound down rather quickly and Joanna quickly found herself alone. There was still music and such but less and less people. She found herself wondering along the sands of the beach, a couple with dragons further ahead. She left them alone and continued to walk. The surf splashed at her feet and sucked away the sand underfoot. Taking off the heels, she worked her feet into the sand and sat.

The moon was up and nearly full, the tide crashing into sand bars. And yet as serene as it was, her mind was not. She did not know why she came out. It was to get her rebel streak satisfied, no doubt. Her mind kept replaying her near death experience. She remembered slipping away and being alone with that thought scared her.

Maybe dad was right, she thought. Maybe I should not be in the field.

~~

Jack could see the moonlight streaming through the blinds. A cigar smoked in his hand, curling around his head and to the bungalow ceiling. She is a grown woman, she can handle herself, he thought.

She is still too impulsive!

She has proven more than capable.

At getting shot!

And? Eventually everyone gets shot. I prepared her as best I could.

And she is still my daughter! She shouldn't be doing my work.

So why did I let her?

Jack rubbed his face and ashed into an empty can of the local tap. Losing Amanda was hard but losing Joanna would have been it for him. Everything he had done the past decade has been for her and she seemed determined to say that he was not needed. It could have ended badly for everyone.

He puffed on the cigar, sighing with a cloud of smoke. He supposed it was time to cut the cord. She was an adult, she did not need him. The fact he had cared for her with all the problems that arose since the day of her birth made that particular notion a hard pull to swallow. He had to, he reasoned. Or risk forcing her away for good.

Jack stubbed the cigar and pocketed it for later. He got up and had nearly made it to her room when the tac-link beeped at him from his pocket. Digging for it, he saw that the link for the tac-comp was still running. Military codes were being decrypted as he watched. Something to do with Golden Peak, the dragoon already detailing an info packet to one Jhonen Cross and his team.

Swiping with his finger, he saw the team roster. "Well, at least she succeeded," he muttered, clicking it off. He raised a hand and knocked on her door. There was no answer. He slowly opened it and saw the bunched up sheets but no Joanna. Jack felt a red hot poker of anger that she had disobeyed him again before sighing.

"She will be back eventually," he said, resigning himself to his room.

To busy his mind, he set about decrypting the codes of the info packet. The computer did the work for him and he once more saw the Golden Peak situation. Possible Crimson Kingdom, communication blackout for the past several hours, everything pointing out that there was something wrong. Jack rubbed his face, the stubble rasping against his fingers.

He types up a message for Cross.

Heard about Golden Peak. Willing to help, talk more in detail in person. Need to talk about the future of our whole scenario. Message me at earliest convenience. Jack

He sent it and leaned back. Whatever was happening, he wanted a piece of that Crimson Bitch. She was going regret the day she placed a bit on them, that much he planned on.

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