The young woman quietly called to the wolf, "Wa-ya , a'-hni!"
"You are frightening the Samuells." At the sound of her voice the wolf rolled over onto his back, all paws in the air, and put his head on Michael's feet. Nikita looked at Michael looking at the wolf and started to giggle at the sight of them, releasing the tension.
"I'm sorry he frighted you both, he left my side to find the ones in pain, are you alright?" She looked first at Nikita then to Michael for an answer and *saw* more than either could know. Not getting more than a stare from them both, she tried a different approach.
"I'm sorry my name is," she paused briefly deciding on what language to use, "Moon-Dancer and that flea ridden pest is called "wolf" or "WA-ya".
The wolf rolled over again and thumped his tail on the ground and looked at Michael as if he were laughing with his tongue hanging out. He slowly put his hand out for WA-ya to sniff and was rewarded with a gentle lick.
Nikita looked up and said, "How do you know our name?"
Moon Dancer smiled and quietly replied, "I know all the guests that are
here this week and I asked my grandfather to extend the invitation to you
for tonight's," again she slightly hesitated, "ceremony and party. We are
opening a special room of art work I thought Mr. Samuell would enjoy."
She turned to Michael and said, "You did put down as occupation art dealer? Or is there something else you do?"
Michael looked into her eyes ready with the cover he had used so many times and stopped. He found it hard to speak the lie and started to blush! What was it about her to effect him this way? Nikita also noted the hesitation and started to cover for his lapse when she too looked into the green gold eyes of this strange woman. She couldn't lie either. Moon Dancer saw the confession and took pity on them.
"I'm sorry, that was not meant to be a trick question," she laughed. Michael slowly got to his feet and went to stand by Nikita, putting his arm protectively around her waist. MD smiled and sighed inwardly, one problem solved, now how to gain their trust? For the storm was coming and she would need all the help she could get to protect her people.
She spotted Running Deer and waved him over, "What is it little-brother?"
With a small flourish he said that lunch was set up for them and asked if the Samuells would like to come in and eat? Nikita smiled at the youngster's enthusiasm.
Moon Dancer turned to the couple, "You haven't eaten yet and here I am keeping you out in the hot sun and all! Please go eat and I will see you later tonight?"
Michael again looked into her eyes and felt something stir within him.
"Yes we will be there," was all he could say.
She smiled and slowly reached out and touched Michaels' face and said very softy, "I am nv-wo-ti, a-da-we'-hi for all people, if you need me for anything, call me and I will come." She took WA-ya by the scruff of the neck and left them with Running Deer.
"Wow, she never says that to outsiders!" Nikita looked at him and just raised her eyebrow.
Running Deer flushed and said, "She just told you she is," he stopped and tried to think, "That she is . . . well I guess æ medicine women' is the easiest to translate. But it means more than that, too. Ask my brother tonight at the party he can tell you."
With that he ran off on some other errand.
Lunch was delicious but they were both lost in private thoughts. Nikita wanted to get Michael to talk to her but was not sure how to begin.
"Michael . ."
"Nikita," they both started at the same time.
They laughed and looked at each other to see who would go first. Nikita decided not to wait and started to speak. But Michael put his fingers to her lips to silence her.
"Please Kita let me say this first, I am sorry for the pain I cause you and I know you have heard it before but I," his voice broke and he turned from her bright blue eyes, "I don't deserve to be forgiven and I'm not going to ask you to, just, could you, please."
Nikita walked up behind him and putting her arms around his waist she pulled
him tight to her and whispered in his ear, "I still love you Michael".
"Birkoff, com check, do you read me and how is visual?"
"Michael you're not coming in clearly. There seems to be some kind of dampening field around your area, I'll try to boost the signal. Ask Nikita to raise her view 5 degrees."
Nikita asked, "How's that Birkoff and how's my sound?"
"Your also fuzzy," he said, " but visual is good."
Just then there was a knock on the door.
Nikita said, "That must be our little friend Running Deer", as Michael opened the door. Only standing there was an older Indian man, in his late 40's early 50's, with silver sprinkled throughout his long black hair. Both men took the measure of the other. Michael saw the gun under his jacket first, and then did a quick head to toe search. There was an eagle feather braided into the right side of his hair and his eyes . They were the cold clear eyes of one who knew death and did not fear it. His face was lined with care and sun browned, and the suit did nothing to hide the well muscled body. This was a man not to be messed with.
Nikita moved up to stand at Michael's shoulder ready to support him as needed. Then the man smiled and his whole face changed!
"No, I am not Running Deer, he's my youngest brother. I am called John Taylor Spotted Deer and am head of security for the resort and reservation."
He liked what he saw before him, Moon Dancer was right again about these two.Why was he surprised? They would be more than able to keep her out of trouble in the casino while he was out working perimeter security. Birkof's voice sounded in Michael's ear .
"He's armed Michael."
"Moon Dancer has asked me to include the two of you in my primary security unit, and to ask the organization to help us. If you will come with me to the command center, I have all the intel you'll need, and better weapons then the ones you have on you now."
In Michael's ear Operations' voice came on, "Michael, agree to what ever he says and get into the system."
Michael said "ok" to both parties, but inside he thought this is too easy! Were they being set up or being used as bait for Red Cell? This Moon Dancer knew too much about them and they nothing about her!
Nikita wasn't buying it either and she asked, "How do you know we aren't just here for a vacation?"
JT's eyes went cold and dangerous: "Moon Dancer knows who and what you are, and who you work for, so don't play innocent with me," then his face changed again, open and afraid. "I have a personal favors to ask of you," Michael and Nikita looked at each other and Nikita let him take the lead.
"What is it ?"
JT took a deep breath and said, " I am expecting trouble at the 'New Moon ceremony' tonight and I would ask that you please protect Moon Dancer with your very lives. She doesn't care about her own life but without her . ." He stopped and then started again, "she is nv-wo-ti, medicine women and a-da-we'-hi, angel or healer, or wise one, and she is the only one of her kind left to the tribe. If she doesn't perform the two ceremonies , the one tonight and then Friday night, Red Cell wins and will take over the resort and this clan will die! Please, please I beg you, protect her."
Michael and Nikita both nodded and Nikita said, "We will take care of her."
JT let out the breath he was holding and quietly said, "Thank you."
He proceeded to brief the Section operatives.
Michael and Nikita were given a quick tour of the grounds around the casino area, with special emphasis on the exterior of the gallery. As they entered, scanning the interior, both were of a mind this was a security nightmare! All the large windows gave no cover from the outside and the lighting was so bright you could see into the whole gallery easily.
"Michael, what are we going to do? We can't defend this place!" Nikita was not happy and neither was Michael.
"I'll try to stay near Moon Dancer and you circulate among the guests, let me know if you see anything suspicious."
As he and Nikita were saying this Moon Dancer came over to them. She looked Michael over and said "You do look incredible in a tux! And the glasses add a nice touch!"
She smiled and looked at Nikita and added , "Your broach is truly lovely! And how good is the quality of the picture?"
Mischief sparkled in her eyes as she looked at both operatives.
"And who gets the job of baby sitting me tonight?" She smiled and continued, "Before you tell me I would like you both to meet the chief Standing Bear and the counsel of elders, and you must see the art work as well!"
She linked arms with both ops and drew them to a group of men.
"A-gi-du'-da, Grandfather this are Nikita and Michael, and I will leave them with you as I prepare for the ceremony."
Nikita looked at Michael and at his nod moved to go with Moon Dancer.
Standing Bear spoke at this point before Michael or Nikita could say anything, "I am pleased my granddaughter has you as friends and guardians but I think she may be of an age that she no longer needs help in dressing."
Michael and Nikita looked at him and laughed at this cleaver try to give her the time alone she needed.
"Thank you but I think Nikita would feel better if she kept me in sight, and I know JT has spoken to them about security and I will bow to their wishes, for now." The 2 women left and Michael and Standing Bear had a chance to talk.
"Please walk with me as I tell you the threats Red Cell has made against my people."
They walked around the gallery and Michael and section got the story. As Chief standing Bear was telling of their trouble with Red Cell Michael stopped in front of a painting that reminded him of a famous Indian portrait called æend of the Trail', this looked like it but the pain of the brave and his wounds hit him hard. Standing Bear stopped his narrative and looked at Michael,
"You are looking at a portrait of 'she who dances with in the shadow of the moon' husband. He was killed by Red Cell 4 years ago and she had been working with," he stopped and Michael turned to him.
"Please go on," Standing Bear just shook his head and looking Michael in the eyes said, "That is my granddaughter story not mine, if she chooses to tell you and your people."
Michael was about to reply when all the lights but the front spot went out and a flute started playing. Nikita was walking toward him when he saw Moon Dancer apar under the spot light. His first thought was what a perfect target she made, then he stopped breathing! How could he have missed it! The women in his dream was standing before him!
The green gold eyes, the long dark hair was loose upon her shoulders with a feather braided on the left side. He felt the room start to spin, the wolf, and the white dress all that was missing was the moon! NO, it wasn't missing, he realized behind her a large painting of a full moon! No this couldn't be real! Drums sounded with the urethral sound of the flute.
'She who dances in the shadow of the moon' started to sing the song of hope and blessing for the coming year.
Nikita saw something was terribly wrong with Michael, his breathing was rapid and he looked stricken, as if he had seen something so awful he could not bear it.
"Michael what's wrong," and she took his arm and shook him to get his attention.
He started to shake and said, "Nikita get everyone out of here some one is going to try to kill Moon Dancer," and he turned to Nikita, "and me."
Michael felt like he was moving in slow motion! He had to get to Moon Dancer and get her out of that damned spot light! She saw him coming and started toward him, for she had seen this moment and knew the parts that would be played out. Michael's fear went up a notch, he saw a red dot appear over her heart! No, he wasn't going to get there in time, as she also saw the red.
Michael reached her as a shot rang out and, to his horror, she grabbed him and turned into the path of the bullet! Time resumed it's normal speed as they were both hit with the same shot. It passed through Moon Dancers arm and hit Michael in the chest, going through into his lung!
Nikita was trying to get chief Standing Bear out of the line of fire as well as see where the shot came from. She wasn't sure who had gotten hit, she didn't want to think of that now. She had innocents to protect, and Michael could take care of himself, let that be so she prayed!
Moon Dancer was ready for the pain she had it blocked before the bullet had finished leaving her body. She hoped and prayed that it had slowed enough that it would not kill Michael on impact. Now came the test, who would win tonight? Good or Evil?
Moon Dancer was ready and she prayed Michael was too! As she held him in her arms she let her mind enter that sacred place that he had first seen her, the grove of Rowan trees, the waters and her Spirit guides Wa-ya, Wolf and Wo-ha'-li, Eagle. The full moon shed its silvery light on the glade and Moon Dancer asked Michael to open his eyes, and speak with her. He felt no fear and strangely at peace, something he did not know existed for him.
You must decide now Michael whom you will serve. That which binds you in self hate, and self destruction or that which can bring you life and light in your darkness! The choice is yours tell me now, LIFE OR DEATH.
Michael looked at Moon Dancer and wasn't sure what he saw, or even what to say, to this being of shining Light!
"You don't know all that I have done," all the pain , all the death, all the darkness of his soul rose up before him and he cried out, " I can not live with this!"
She only looked at him with great sadness and quietly said, "Michael look into the water and tell me what you see?" He did as asked and saw his life flash in the waters as a reflection of the moon's light.
Much was as he had come to believe of himself, that Section had made of him. But there were other things that were good and of light, and he felt his tears flow into the pool. There was good in him and that gave him hope!
He struggled to breath and said, " I choose Life."
Nikita had made her way up to the front and saw Michael lying in Moon Dancers arms with blood flowing slowly from both their wounds.
She yelled out , "Get a doctor , they're both hit and bleeding badly."
Standing Bear slowly made his way to Nikita and told her "It will be alright, Moon Dancer is the healer and they will live or die as one."
Michael opened his eyes, they were so heavy and he was tired, so tired
he just wanted to sleep.
But he heard Nikita's voice and focused on it. Moon Dancer softly called, "Michael, you need to be healed, please, let me help you."
He looked at her and nodded and closed his eyes again, too heavy to hold open. Moon Dancer smiled and started to softly sing a prayer of healing and asked the 'Great Spirit' to save this young man and to bring the deeper healing of his spirit! As she sang she also asked the bullet to come out to her and it came to her hand! He was breathing easily and the bleeding was stopped. The hole in her arm was also closing as she sang! Nikita couldn't believe what she was seeing and everyone back at section watched too as Michael was healed!
Moon Dancer looked up at Nikita and her grandfather, 'He will be fine now, he has chosen life. Will you take him to the clinic to rest? Nikita come with me please, we have a prisoner to interrogate!"