Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"The Power of One" [PG-13] - 16/20





"THE POWER OF ONE"

PART XVI

Scott Yi entered the squad room, the following morning, holding a brown folder. "I've dug up all the information I could find on Daley Bakker," he said, before dumping the folder on Olivia's desk. "It's not much. But then . . . her record is squeaky clean."

Olivia opened the folder and read. She learned that Daley Bakker had been born on August 3, 1966; in Oakland as Daley Anwar. Her parents were also native Californians. However, her paternal grandparents came from Alabama in the early 1930s. Anwar earned a Bachelor's Degree in Biology and Biochemistry from Calfornia State University in San Marcos in 1988; and a Master's in Biochemistry in 1990. She worked for the Bloom Pharmeceutical Company as a chemist upon earning her Master's. After three years, she left the company and opened her own herbal cosmetic company/shop called The Blue Orchid on Telegraph Road.

"Andre was right about her," Olivia said. "She's clean. Not one arrest, whatsoever. Not even for speeding." The red-haired witch continued to read the file. "She married a man some fifteen years her senior in 1990. About three years later, he dropped dead from a heart attack." Olivia gave her colleague a meaningful glance. "Heart failure at 42 years old. Naturally, Mrs. Bakker collected the insurance."

"Did her husband . . .?"

Olivia finished, "Orlando Bakker. That's his name. He owned a small pharmacy, here in the city."

"Hmmmm. And he had a heart condition?" Scott shook his head. "I bet the insurance company must have been taken by surprise."

Olivia glanced at the folder. "Maybe they were. They had investigated Mrs. Bakker's claim, stating that her husband did not have a heart condition, when he first bought his policy. But they couldn't find any traces of foul play. About six months after her husband's death, she formed The Blue Orchid. Not only does she sell herbal beauty products, she creates her own products, as well. Natural ingredients. Allegedly. Looks like her factory is located somewhere on Bayshore Boulevard."

Scott murmured, "I'll check it out."

"I don't know, Scott," Olivia said with a slight frown. "This is a private matter and I don't want to get you into trouble."

But Scott refused to deny Olivia any help. "Look, I don't mind. If this Mrs. or Ms. Bakker has that kid's powers, she might end up as a threat to a lot of people." Although a Taoist disciple, Scott also happened to be magic practitioner.

"I don't know. It's a good chance that Ms. Bakker has already abandoned her factory." Olivia paused, as she contemplated another thought. "Then again, she might still be operating. And you could find yourself in serious trouble."

Scott sat down in the chair next to her desk. "She has to kill the baby, doesn't she? To make sure that the power transfer is permanent?" Olivia nodded. "Well . . . it looks as if you might have to lure her into a trap. Because that's the only way I can see you helping that kid."

Olivia nodded. "And to lure her, we'll have to use Wyatt. But before we can allow her to get near him, we'll have to find a way to reverse the ritual."

"Allow?"

"That's right. Allow." Then she closed the file and leaned back into her chair with a sigh.

----------

The images flashed in Cecile's mind, as she recalled the objects she had found inside that blanket, last night. Objects that had formed part of an altar for Daley Bakker's ritual. Why had she used those particular objects for . . .?

"Cecile?" The elder Mrs. McNeill's voice had interrupted the young priestess' thoughts. "Is there something wrong? You seem a bit quiet."

Cecile sighed. "I was thinking of that blanket I had found at the Halliwells', last night. "You know, the one with objects for an altar."

"Oh." The elderly woman nodded. "Have you recalled something?"

In her quest to identify the ritual used to strip Wyatt of his powers, Cecile had dropped by the McNeills' house for more information. The family library possessed one of the biggest collections of books and notes on the world's mythologies . . . and on the supernatural world. So far, she and Mrs. McNeill had failed to find anything on what ritual that Daley Bakker had used. "No, I haven't. And that's the problem. I mean . . . I can think of one or two rituals for psychic transference. But they didn't require an altar like the one I had found. That altar . . . I don't know. I have the feeling that Don . . . I mean, Ms. Bakker had used a very old ritual."

"Not surprising," Mrs. McNeill commented. "Wyatt's powers are very strong." She joined Cecile in front of the bookshelf. "If she did use an old ritual, I'm surprised that she would know about it. A lot of old Celtic and Druid spells have been lost, since the early days of Christianity."

Cecile continued to peruse the bookshelf. "It's the same in Vodoun. Many of our old rituals have disappeared in the past century or so. But we still know a good number of them." She paused, as a book caught her attention. The title read "THE SUPERNATURAL WORLD OF THE IVORY COAST". "Well, this looks interesting," Cecile commented, as she pulled the book from the shelf. The publishing date inside read 1911. "Have you ever read this?"

The elderly woman took the book from the young priestess and stared at the cover. "Oh that! I remember Ken's father - my father-in-law - showing me this book, years ago. He had bought it at a bookstore in London, just a month or two after the war. World War I, by the way." She flipped through the pages. "Do any of these spells look familiar?" Mrs. McNeill handed the book back to Cecile.

"Let me see." The Vodoun priestess sat down in the nearest chair and began to pour through the book. After nearly fifteen minutes, she finally came upon what she had been looking for. "This is it!" she cried. "I think I've finally found the ritual that Daley Whatshername may have used."

-----------

Later that afternoon, Cecile and Mrs. McNeill met with the others at the Halliwell manor. There, the Vodoun priestess revealed her discovery. "Some British anthropologist had spent several years at this village in present day Togo," Cecile explained. "He recorded many aspects of the villagers' lives - including the spiritual and the supernatural. This . . . Sir Jonathan Close had learned all about Vodoun beliefs and rituals from a local houngan. Including a ritual that can transfer the essence or psychic abilities from one person to another. I think this is the spell that had been used on Wyatt."

Piper, who held Wyatt in her arms, frowned. "Essence?"

Cecile looked at the oldest Charmed One. "Well, of course. Our psychic powers and our abilities to perform magic come from our essence. Right?" Before Piper could answer, Cecile finished, "Anyway, the items I had found in that blanket, matches those that are to be used in the ritual found in this book. And since this ritual involves psychic abilities, Ms. Bakker must have appealed to Kalfu."

"Who?"

Andre answered for Cecile, "He's a loa. A spirit god associated with evil. Like Legba, he controls the crossroads of the spirit world. But for darker purposes. Legba is his opposite."

"Which is whom I will have to summon to reverse the ritual," Cecile added.

"Does the book show a way to reverse it?" Phoebe demanded.

Nodding, Cecile answered, "Don't worry. It does. I just have to get similar items for the ritual. But since I'll be summoning Legba for help, I won't have to wait until dark to perform the ritual. However, it has to be performed either by the last day of the moon's first quarter . . . which is tomorrow. Or we'll have to wait until the last quarter moon begins."

"We're doing it tomorrow," Piper insisted.

Cecile added, "And we also need to lure Donna or Daley back here. We'll need a sample of her blood. Or hair."

Cole snorted. "Good luck on that one," he murmured.

"Can't we just get a hair sample from her bedroom?"

Cecile gazed at the youngest Charmed One. "Can you get inside? I know you can teleport, Paige. But for all we know, Ms. Bakker might have a protection ward around her house."

Olivia sighed. "In other words, we'll have to lure her to the house, before we can get a blood or hair sample from her. Now that she knows about Cole, that won't be so easy."

"She'll have no choice but to show up," Andre commented. "Especially if she wants to keep Wyatt's powers . . . permanently." A light gleamed in his dark eyes. "However, I do have an idea." He regarded Cole with thoughtful eyes. "Do you have to be in the same room with someone to use telepathic suggestion?"

Cole stared at his friend for a long moment. "No," he finally answered. "No, I don't. I can use it on anyone from a distance. But this Daley Bakker . . . she has Wyatt's powers. I don't know if I can . . ."

"Might as well try," Andre said. "Besides, I have a feeling that your powers might slightly be stronger than Wyatt's."

Piper immediately spoke up. "You don't know that for sure. After all, when Wyatt was born, all magic had ceased . . ."

"Didn't Cole still have his powers that day? I had heard of a few others who also did." And before Piper could respond, the houngan turned to the half-daemon. "Now, this is what I want you to do." Andre then proceeded to reveal what he had in mind.

---------

Daley stood before the liquor cabinet, inside her living room. "What do you guys want to drink?" she asked the two men, who sat on the sofa.

Marc replied, "Bourbon."

"I'll have a whiskey straight," the second man answered. Like Marc, Clive Davis happened to be one of Daley's lieutenants. He usually supervised the manufacturing and packaging of her Methacathinone. "Shouldn't we be making a run for it, or something like that? Now that the cops probably know about us?" The other two stared at him. "I saw an unmarked police car outside the warehouse, this afternoon."

Marc added, "I forgot. There was one parked outside your store, as well."

Daley impatiently dismissed the men's worries. "We're not leaving," she declared in a resolute tone. "Why should we? The only cop who knows about us is that red-haired bitch. And probably a friend or two on the force. She can't say anything to the Department without bringing up magic. And if the cops do try anything . . . I'll take care of them." She allowed a cruel smile to curve her lips. Then her smile disappeared. "However, we do have two problems. Getting rid of Wyatt Halliwell. And that Cole Turner fellow." She handed Marc a glass of bourbon. "Did your warlock friend know anything about him?"

After taking a sip of his bourbon, Marc sighed. "Oh Daley, I think we may have walked into a world of shit with this dude."

"Meaning?"

Marc continued, "Have you ever heard of a daemon named Belthazor? From the Brotherhood of the Thorn?"

During her years of criminal activity, Daley had done business with various supernatural beings and organizations outside the Anansi Order. Including business with the Brotherhood of the Thorn. She had also heard of a daemonic assassin named Belthazor, who was said to be one of the best. "Yeah, I've heard of him. I also heard that he had been killed by these three witches who . . ." She stared at Marc. "Are you saying that Cole Turner is Belthazor? But, he's supposed to be dead!"

"Yeah," Marc said with a nod. "He was killed by the Charmed Ones. Apparently, he had fallen in love with one of them - Phoebe Halliwell. A year after they had met, he lost his powers, became a mortal for a few months and then ended up being possessed by some dude called the Source, who was supposed to be the leader of some daemonic realm. The sisters killed the Source again, along with Turner. Who came back from the dead a few months later with more powers. In fact, he's supposed to be more powerful than ever. My friend didn't know whether he's more powerful than the Halliwell kid. I mean, you."

Recalling how the dark-haired man or daemon had easily blocked her electrokinetic attacks, Daley suspected that she might have stolen powers from the wrong person. "You know anything else about him?"

"He's supposed to be half-daemon/half-mortal," Marc added. "Turns out he and Phoebe Halliwell had been married for a few months. And he's now involved with another witch. That red-haired cop, Olivia McNeill."

Daley sighed. "That's just great. No wonder I can't teleport inside the Halliwell house. I bet he must have cast some protection ward over the damn place."

Marc took another sip of his drink. "One last thing . . . he's a close friend of Andre Morrell."

"So, how do you plan to deal with him?" Clive asked.

Another sigh left Daley's mouth, as poured herself a glass of ginger ale. "One problem at a time. I still need to get near Wyatt Halliwell and kill him. Does anyone . . ." She paused, as an idea came to her.

"Shape shift," a voice inside her head suggested. "Shape shift into one of the Charmed Ones. Only then you will get inside the house and near the boy."

Daley cried out, "Of course! Why didn't I think of that before?"

Marc stared at her. "Of course . . . what?"

"I've figured out how to get close to Wyatt." Excited over her new idea, Daley continued, "Shape shift. All I have to do is glamour. Shape shift into one of the sisters and enter the house. I wouldn't have to worry about a protection ward."

"And which sister do you plan to impersonate?" Marc asked. "What if she shows up before you can get rid of the kid?"

Daley stared at her two companions. "Well, Clive is going to make sure that she doesn't."

"Huh?" Clive stared at his boss.

"You, Angela and Ramon are going to snatch one of the Halliwells. Tomorrow is Saturday. They're not going to stay inside that house forever. Grab her in some secluded spot and take her to the old lab on Kearny Street. Drug her, if you have to. Once I kill Wyatt, you can let her go." Then another idea came to Daley. "Or better yet, kill her. I don't care."

Marc and Clive exchanged questioning looks. The latter asked, "Which Halliwell do I grab?"

Clive's question reverberated within Daley's mind for a few seconds. Then her inner voice spoke again. She replied, "Phoebe Halliwell. I hear that she sometimes work on Saturdays. She's not a teleporter, like the youngest. And I'm sure that Piper will be at home with Wyatt. By the way, Phoebe knows martial arts, so be careful."

"No problem," Clive said. "I know it, myself. And I don't think she'll be in a position to fight back, for what I have in mind for her." He paused. "Where do you want us to meet you?"

Daley strolled toward an empty chair near the sofa and sat down. "The BAY-MIRROR. I'll call you first . . . just to make sure that she'll be there. And if she does show up, make sure that someone is there to keep an eye on her, so that he or she can tell us when she's leaving."

Marc asked, "And what if she doesn't leave the house?"

"Then I'll use her boyfriend to make sure that he does." Daley sank into the chair, as she took a sip of her drink. "And once Clive grabs her, I'll simply take her place."


END OF PART XVI

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