Oh, yeah, I'm starting out fabulous today.  Sorry
everyone, I forgot to put in thought marks.  This
might make a little more sense.  Ignore the first
post.
*******************************************************
<> thoughts

                  Luck of the Draw

Ryence inhaled slowly, leaning his aching head against the cold, cement wall.  The soldiers had hit him pretty hard.
<I shouldn't have fought,> he thought quietly. He could have fast-talked the guards, distracted their attention; escaped some other way.  Instead he had gotten scared, hadn't thought clearly cause he knew they would arrest him, find out who he was, and lock him away forever.  Instinct had kicked in, which he rarely allowed to happen because he knew they would take Peace away from him, because he knew he would be alone, and because he knew she would be alone.
<How could you be so stupid?>  He sighed.  Now they would put him in prison.  Now he would never see Peace again and she would be at the mercy of the world. Unfortunate, unappreciated, not understood for what she was, a target for pedophiles.
<Those God-damn pedophiles,> he cursed inwardly.  He flexed his arms, the manacles on his wrists clinking slightly.  He would find a way out; he had to.
<Whatever it takes, I will.>

Ryence opened his eyes slightly as he heard the sounds of boots echoing down the corridor.  Two soldiers stopped at his cell and unlocked it.  He looked up at them silently as they entered.
"Ryne Willis, come with us."  Ryence rose to his feet and followed the first guard, the second taking his place behind him.  Ryence briefly considered using his manacles to choke the guard in front of him but sighed, discarding the idea; the second guard would be on him instantly, putting a bullet in his head.  They entered an elevator, went up a few floors, then exited and walked down a dimly lit corridor.  The guards paused in front of a door, toggling it open then gestured for Ryence to enter.  He stepped in the door warily.  The two guards followed.
In front of him were two men at a desk, bent over looking at something in a box.  Behind them was a large screen with the image of an older, gray-haired man in uniform looking at what they were examining as well.  Ryence blinked as he recognized one of the men.  Younger than the other man, who was dressed in officer attire, he had curly blond hair and wore civilians clothes.   He looked up at Ryence and grinned. "You can release his hands," the officer said, shutting the box.  The guards did so and left as the officer gestured their dismissal.  The younger blond man walked over to stand by Ryence.  Ryence looked at him in complete disbelief and confusion.

"Jay, what the hell is going on?"  Jay gave a reassuring smile.
"Just answer their questions, Ryce.  Please, trust me.  If you do it will go well for you."  Ryence frowned, but nodded slightly.  The man on the screen began to speak, looking through some papers on his desk.
"Ryne Willis, that's an alias.  Your real name is Ryence Williams, correct?"  Ryence nodded; they had taken his fingerprints.
"Yes sir," he replied.  The man on the screen tapped his finger on the desk for a moment.
"The last report we could dig up on your history was from eight years ago.  Your father was killed in Operation Meteor and your mother..." he paused looking through the papers a moment, "...committed suicide. You and your sister were scheduled to go into foster care."  Ryence nodded.
"That's correct sir."  The man leaned back in his chair and looked at Ryence intently.
"You're well-behaved for a criminal," he commented. Ryence remained silent.  "In fact," he continued, looking through the papers on his desk again, "all the reports we have on Ryen Willis since you arrived on this colony, are the depiction of a good, upstanding citizen.  You pay your taxes on time, your credit history has been perfect for the last three years," he paused, "and you've never had any driving citations."
"I don't own a car, sir," Ryence replied.
"You own a motorcycle."
"Yes, sir."  The man was silent for a moment.
"Mr. Williams, why were you at the spaceport?"
"I was trying to buy tickets to leave the colony, sir," he replied.
"Why is that?"  Ryence blinked then looked at Jay, his gaze digging into him, searching.  Jay nodded. Ryence stared at him for a few more moments then clenched his fists, turning to look back at the man on the screen.
"I was attempting to escape from Preventer authority, sir."  The man sighed.
"Why?"  Ryence looked down at his fists for a moment.  He didn't know what to do.  Listen to Jay?  He hadn't steered him wrong before.  <This is so difficult.>
"I... work with weapons," he replied finally.  The man smiled slightly, unamused.
"So evasive, Mr. Williams.  Perhaps because you work with illegal weapons?  For a ring called the Gemini?"
Ryence gritted his jaw.  <Damn.>
"And if I do, sir?"  The man put his hands behind his back.
"Do you?"  Ryence sighed.
"Yes."
"And this is why you attacked the guard's when they attempted to detain you?"  Ryence didn't answer for a moment.  It was all wrong.  They were up to something and he hated not knowing what.  He inhaled.
"I thought I could escape, sir.  My little sister is dependant on me.  I can't go to prison!"  The man smirked.
"Perhaps you should have considered that before choosing your particular line of work," he replied. He thought the remark would set off the young man.  He was surprised when Ryence remained silent, an angry glare on his face.  His look said it all to him though. 
<How would you know what it's like, you bastard?>  The man sighed then gestured to the officer.  The officer opened the box which they had all been looking at and removed a gun from it.  Ryence recognized his pulse gun immediately.
"This is yours?" the man on the screen asked.  Ryence nodded.  The man considered this for a moment.
"In your line of work have you ever run across a designer named 'Ren'?"  Ryence laughed slightly and stared straight at the man. "The one responsible for the pulse weapon outbreak on L6?" he replied.  The man nodded.
"The same."
"That would be me."  The man looked at him and frowned.
"You are 'Ren'?"  Ryence smiled slightly.
"The same."  The man shook his head.
"This is no time for jokes, son."  Ryence looked the man straight in the eyes seriously.  "I am 'Ren', sir.  I designed that weapon.  I have the only one like it; it's one of a kind."  The man on the screen looked at Jay.  Jay nodded.  The man frowned slightly, maintaining his gaze on Jay.  It was silent for at least a minute as the man contemplated then finally he spoke.
"Agent Airy, why did you aid Mr. Williams in escaping?"  Jay frowned uncomfortably; he was in trouble as well.
"He saved my life, Commander.  I would be dead if it weren't for him.  He is my friend."  The Commander frowned more deeply.
"Where does your loyalty lie, Agent Airy?"  Jay saluted.
"With the Preventers, Sir!"  The Commander scowled.
"Obviously not, Agent Airy."  He turned to look at Ryence.
"Mr. Williams, will you please describe your relationship with Agent Airy?  Why did you save him and from what did he need saving?"  Ryence was silent for a moment.
"As Jay said, sir, he is my friend.  I discovered he was a spy for the Preventers about three years back. He had just started working as a runner then, though I didn't know he was an undercover spy at the time. About four months after he started working there our supervisor caught him hacking into the computers, looking for information, I guess.  I had been working late that night."  He paused a moment, a slight smile crossing his face.  "I was actually finishing the modifications for those pulse weapons that were in the outbreak on L6.  I heard some scuffling, gun shots, and... screaming a few floors up and went to investigate.  The supervisor had pretty much beaten the crap out of Jay and was going through the processes of torturing him for info.  He'd shot him twice already and was about to kill him when I entered.  I killed the supervisor and took Jay back to my place.  My little sister... my little sister is... special... uhh... good with fixing up wounds, sir. She cared for him while I went back to clean up the mess."  The Commander frowned, completely incredulous.
"Why in the hell would you kill your own supervisor and rescue a Preventer spy who is obviously your enemy?" he asked.  Ryence smiled slightly. "Well, sir, as for the supervisor, he was a complete asshole, if you'll excuse my language, nobody really liked him, or missed him for that matter."  He paused for a moment then continued, hesitantly, "Plus... he was the only one holding me back from that position. I was making shit at that time, sir, and if I could be promoted to that position I could move my sister and I out of the hellhole we were living in.  I was promoted, sir, and consequently did move out of that hellhole.  As for Jay," he looked at his friend, "he'd always been a good guy.  I had a good feeling about him.  And it wasn't like I was gonna leave him to be killed by an asshole like that guy.  To this day he's never let me down, sir.  He was a decent enough guy to tell me what was coming even though his job was on the line, and even now after I screwed up and got caught he's helping me out... I think...." 
The Commander sighed, shaking his head.  Loyalty between friends was unbreakable sometimes, and he admired the comradery the two shared.  Even still Agent Airy was in a heap of trouble.  He tapped his finger on the desk a moment more then looked at the two men.
"All right, Mr. Williams, if you truly who you say you are, I can offer you two options.  You can either go to court and be tried for a whole list of illegal activities which will probably land you life in jail," he paused, "or you can be sensible and bypass all that.  I am prepared to offer you a position in the Preventers as a weapons designer.  It is obvious from all the trouble your weapons have caused us that your skills and designs would be an asset to the group if not bring improvement.  I can see you've got good seed in you.  There are conditions though.  If for any reason you decide to revert back to your criminal tendencies, however small, you will immediately go to prison.  If you decide to run, you will go to prison. If you accept your record will be wiped clean and you can start a new life.  How about it, Mr. Williams?" Ryence blinked.  He couldn't believe what he was hearing.
"Please tell me you're not messing with me," he murmured.  The Commander looked at him seriously.
"This is no joke, son.  You either accept the position or talk to your little sister through a pane of glass for the rest of your life.  The choice is up to you."  Ryence was nodding before he could think.
"Yes sir, I completely accept your offer and the conditions."  The Commander smiled.
"Good," he replied.  He turned to look at Jay.  "As for you Agent Airy, you will be court marshaled for this and probably receive five years in prison for your act.  But since you did bring "Ren" to us of your own free will instead of escaping blame free I will put in a small word for you.  But as of today no longer consider yourself a Preventer."  Jay nodded silently.
"Understood sir," he replied quietly.  The Commander nodded then looked at Ryence again.
"Welcome to the Preventers, Mr. Williams.  I sincerely hope you're up to the task."  And then the screen went black.  Ryence blinked at the dark screen for a few more moments, still in shock from it all then looked at Jay.
"I'm so sorry, Jay.  You didn't have to do that, man," he said.  Jay smiled weakly and shook his head.
"It's no big deal.  You know I'd do anything for you and Peace.  I couldn't imagine what would happen to that kid without you.  That kid healed me when I was dying.  That gift of hers is amazing, no way in hell I could let anything happen to her, and that means letting nothing happen to you either."  He shook his head, sticking his hands in his pockets.  "Besides, I'd been wanting out anyway, too much restraint. Maybe after I've served my time I can start a business in computers or something." 
Ryence smiled and nodded.  Jay looked at him and raised an eyebrow.
"But what I wanna know is how the hell were you stupid enough to let the ticket lady see your gun, huh?"  Ryence grinned, turning red, and shook his head.  He started to laugh.
"I swear I'll make this up to you, Jay."  Jay laughed.
"Hell, you'd better.  You'll be sending me all kinds of porn in prison.  The expensive stuff too, none of this cheap shit, you bastard."  They laughed for a moment then Jay shook his head. 
"I don't get you man.  You must have the best damn luck in the world."
Ryence nodded, smiling with a slight hint of bitterness.
"Maybe," he replied, "Maybe."



Ryence sat with Peace on a bench in the spaceport terminal.  The spaceport was busy, a woman speaking into the intercom loudly announcing flights.  Peace's legs dangled off the edge of the bench, too short to touch the ground.  She kicked them back and forth as they waited.
"Didn't you ever learn to sit still?" Ryence asked, looking at her.  She didn't look at him.
"Don't talk to me like I'm a child," she replied shortly.  He sighed.
"Right," he murmured quietly.  A loud group of tourists walked by, filling the terminal with their noise, as they chattered away meaninglessly.  Their noise faded as they finally passed.  Ryence looked back at Peace.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"Not really," she replied quietly.  She stopped kicking her feet.  He was silent for a moment.
"You know I'm gonna come visit you whenever I can, right?" he said after a moment.  Her small head bobbed slightly, nodding.
"Yeah," she replied.  He sighed.
"Talk to me, Peace."  It was quiet for a moment more then she looked up at him.
"It's just that you're going to be so far away.  I won't even get to talk to you.  You know that's gonna be hard, Ryce.  We haven't been separated ever and now I'm going to be in some completely different place all by myself." 
He swallowed the lump in his throat quietly and nodded.  She was doing that thing with her voice, making it lower, so she would sound more mature, but even still her voice was still like a little child as he listened to it.  Her vocal chords along with the rest of her had just never developed.
"You won't be by yourself, you know that.  Jay's going with you," he replied lamely.  She frowned.
"Yeah, wonderful," she replied.
"Hey, I thought you liked Jay," he said.  She sighed.
"He always wants me to do the number thing.  I hate that!  It's annoying.  I mean the first three or four times, yeah, it's incredible, but geez!  I like him fine, but he's just so immature!"  Ryence grinned.
"I'm sure it'll get better, you're gonna meet people that have the same gift as you, and you'll make new friends I just know it."  Peace didn't respond; she sighed.
"But you won't be there..." her voice trailed off and tears started to fall down her face.  <No!  Please not that!>  Ryence's mind screamed.
"We'll get through this, Peace, you'll like it so much better when I'm not around," he said, his voice cracking on the last few words.  <Too late...>  Tears escaped his eyelids; he looked away trying to wipe them.  She crawled up onto his lap and hugged him, muffling her sobs in his jacket.  He wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly.  He couldn't hold back the tears that trickled down his face onto her hair. 
"It'll be ok, sis..." he murmured.  "You know this is for the best."  Her head bobbed slightly again, but she didn't let go just yet.  Pushing her back so he could see her face, he wiped her eyes gently.  Her bottom lip quivered; she bit it trying to hold back more tears.  He smiled weakly. 
"Mom, would be proud of you, you know that?" he asked.  She nodded, smilingly slightly, and buried her face back in his jacket.  He sighed, wiping his own face.  He could see Jay coming back up the terminal, carrying some drinks and an ice cream cone. 
"Ok, here comes Jay again.  You ok?" 
There was an exasperated sigh from his jacket where her face was buried then she looked up and nodded at him.  He lifted her off of his lap and placed him next to her.  Jay walked up, grinning from ear to ear, his hands full.
"Man, was that line long... I thought I'd be there forever!  Here you go, Peace," he said handing her the ice cream cone.  "It's chocolate your favorite."  She nodded taking it.
"Thanks."  He sat down next to them and handed Ryence the drink.
"You almost ready, man?"  Ryence looked at his watch.  He nodded slightly.
"I guess so," he replied.  Jay grinned.
"Hey, Peace!  I got a really good one this time, you'll never guess it."  Peace threw up her hands, almost losing the ice cream cone.
"Why did I save your life again?" she asked.  Jay frowned.
"Aww... that hurts, Peace."  She frowned, rolling her eyes.
"Fine, but if you do this the whole time on the flight I'll-" her words were cut off as the woman on the intercom came on.
"Attention passengers: Transport shuttle 1640 for Asgard, Yggdrasil Spaceport is now boarding at this time... I repeat..."
Ryence grabbed Peace around the waist, resting her on his hip as he stood.  She had always been light, though her legs dangled down to his knee; she had been a pretty tall seven year old.  Pressing his forehead to hers he looked her straight in the eyes.
"You have my email address and when you get to the school you're going to send me yours, right?"  She nodded.
"You're not going to forget to write to me, right?" He smiled.
"I'll try to everyday."  She stuck out her tongue.
"Yeah right."  He grinned.  He looked at Jay who was standing silently beside them.  He'd gotten thinner. Prison had taken it out of him.  Ryence had been so relieved when they'd released him on parole only nine months after he'd gone in.  Anymore would have killed him.
"I've done all right by you," Ryence said.  Jay grinned.
"I wish I could say the same," he replied.  Ryence extended his hand.
"Good luck with the new job.  Stay out of trouble."
Jay winked taking it.
"Ummm... sure...." he replied.  Ryence shook his head.
"You take care of her for me.  If anything happens to her, you know I'll have your head."  Jay nodded seriously.
"You have my word, Ryce.  Nothing will happen to her."  Ryence nodded.  He looked back at Peace whose eyes were becoming misty again.
"I love you, Peace."  She nodded.
"I love you too."  He kissed her on the cheek and she wrapped his arms around his neck.  He picked up his carry-on bag and let her go.  She dangled around his neck for a second as he walked up to the gate. Finally she dropped and stood there with Jay, as the line got shorter, the attendant scanning fingerprints.  Jay looked at his watch. "We should get going too.  Our flight's going to start boarding any second."  Ryence nodded slightly. He kneeled and embraced Peace one last time.
"No tears ok?  We're both the strongest.  We will handle anything."  She smiled slightly.  Those were words he'd spoken often in the past.
Ryence watched as they walked away.  He could hear them talking.
"Come on, Peace.  You'll never get this one!"
"Jay, for the love of- fine!  Six trillion- 94 billion- 56 million- 134 hundred thousand- and 56. Are you happy?!"
"Aah... it was just luck... you'll never guess the next one I'm thinking...." Their voices trailed off and Ryence smiled.  He had to admit he did feel bad leaving her with him, but the feeling of leaving her all together left a sour taste in his mouth.  He sighed, stepping up to the attendant and placed his finger on the scanner.  She smiled perkily.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Williams.  Welcome aboard space transport Virgo, I hope you enjoy your flight."  He nodded, smiling back weakly.  He looked back one more time, hoping to catch a last glimpse of them, but they were already gone.