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The Hunt for Remy Ligeau

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Remy Ligeau was born in 2175, in the tiny town of Montmartre, Quebec, population seventy, two hundred miles north of Quebec City. His parents and townsfolk were "Pareilists" - members of an intentional community who chose to live without any modern amenities or technology, surviving mostly on what they could hunt, fish, or grow themselves.

A partially verbal autistic boy, Remy's parents at first sent him to the town's local primary school with the other children. When that became too difficult, they did their best to educate him at home, on their small farm, where Remy spent his days caring for the animals, especially his favorite horse, Jisabelle.

It's not entirely clear at what point Remy developed telepathy, but when he was thirteen, an incident occurred that frightened the townsfolk. One Sunday morning he had an autistic meltdown in church - not out of the ordinary in its own right - but this time, when he wanted people to give him space, he didn't just flap, shout and stamp, he made it happen - the pews around him all shifted away by about six feet, as if by unseen hands, bumping into other pews and the walls of the church. Though no one was seriously injured in the incident, the concerned townsfolk called the closest Psi Corps office. Remy needed some help they couldn't provide, and his parents worried that he could become a danger to himself or others, even entirely by accident.

The Corps sent someone out immediately, and the tester realized that Remy was indeed special. He was unusually strong both telepathically and telekinetically - only one in ten thousand telepaths exhibited telekinetic abilities, and most "teeks" couldn't do more than shift a small coin or reach an object from a high place. If teeks were one in ten million, kids like Remy were one in a billion.

The tester explained to Remy's parents that the Corps could provide a school for Remy that was suited to his particular needs. They had programs for telepaths with disabilities, and that he was partially verbal wouldn't pose an obstacle - in the telepath school, he wouldn't have to speak aloud to be understood, and to communicate with others. She told the family about Remy's unique talents, and how the Corps could help him develop them, and use them to help others. His parents agreed to send him to the Corps school.

But there were concerns for his safety. No one wanted Remy to panic on his trip to the new school, and hurt himself or others. And kidnappings by rogue telepaths had been especially frequent in recent years. Remy was special. It was decided that the Corps would send a team to pick Remy up at home and escort him to his new school.

A number of calls were made - by the Psi Corps rep, by the school, and by others working to manage his case and arrange for the transport.

Unfortunately, these calls were intercepted by said rogue telepath leaders, and even though they could only decipher 80% of what was said, they knew something unusual was going on. They decided to make Remy the next target of their kidnapping - if the Corps this interested in him, he must be "high value" in some way, even though they didn't know more than "he freaked out in church, and someone passed it on." The Corps would never send a whole team to pick up an ordinary teep kid.

Montmartre was a a close-knit, insular community; the rogues assumed the townsfolk had called the Corps in order to cash in on the reward money EarthGov paid for "turning in" in a telepath.

Two of the three leaders of the Underground - Matthew Dexter and Stephen Walters (later of "Black Fox" infamy) made their way to the tiny town of Montmartre, arriving at Remy's house at the same time as the Corps personnel - three Psi Cops and ten bloodhounds, literally half the field personnel of the local office. The Psi Cops, sensing something was wrong, scanned the area, but Matthew Dexter, a P12, was able to hide himself and his companion from telepathic detection.

Remy's parents came out to the porch. Remy stepped down in the yard to meet two of the Psi Cops, a man and a woman, who each put a hand on his shoulder. They told him everything was going to be OK. They told him he was safe now, with them. And he believed them.

Then all hell broke loose.

Walters jumped out of the brush, shooting an automatic weapon.  First he shot up the vehicle the Corps personnel had arrived in, blowing out the tires and shattering the windows. Then he took out the Ligeau family's generator.

And then he spun and fired at the guards, who were already returning fire. He took one down. The Psi Cops radioed for help - but with two hundred miles to Quebec City, help would take time to arrive. There was another small town only fifteen miles away - a town larger than Montmartre - but far too small to have a Corps presence.

Walters dived back into the forest, pursued by Corps personnel, and shot at them from his hiding place behind a tree, then under a log. Remy's father grabbed his own shotgun - with no idea what was happening, or who was was friend or foe, he panicked and shot one of the Psi Cops square in the chest, causing him to fall over backwards into the chicken coop, and sending the chickens running every which way. In the deafening din, Remy was screaming. There was a large cloud of smoke from the gun. Remy's mother hid behind his father - the Psi Cops fired back at Remy's father, killing both him and the boy's mother (by accident). Walters shot another Psi Cop and guard as Remy made a run for it - along a path that wound away from town and into the woods, up to the ridge-top.

Walters went running after the boy. Dexter was nowhere in sight. Walters had given him a time and place to meet up with him later, in the next town, but had been hopelessly vague about it before jumping in for the ambush.  The remaining Corps personnel, one Psi Cop and four guards, made pursuit, but none were trained for operating in the dense forest. These were the years before the Corps had much that could pass for special forces - and the Corps never would have thought to send "special ops" to guard a thirteen-year-old boy, anyway.

These were, indeed, the years before the Corps had much training at all for Psi Cops and personnel. Outside of Geneva, there wasn't much specialized combat training - if you were rated highly enough, you got a uniform and a gun, whether you knew what you were doing or not. (The raid on the Dexters' compound, the following year - and its aftermath - would change all of that.)

Walters himself, you see, was special ops. He'd joined EarthForce in 2172, served in the North American 355th, and win the EA Silver Star for valor at the Battle of Douala. He'd struck a superior officer the following the year, but wasn't court-martialed for it because everyone thought he was some kind of hero, with his medal and all. He'd then served as a mercenary soldier in the Central African Bloc till 2175, when he manifested telepathy at age twenty, eventually rating a P8. Of course, he was kicked out of EarthForce, but he'd voluntarily joined the Corps right away, and joined their nascent special ops unit. Heck, he'd helped build that unit.

Walters shot two more of the Corps personnel who chased him, till he met up with Remy. The remaining Psi Cop - a woman by the name of Genevieve Moneaux - spotted them down below, deep in the ravine, and ordered Walters to turn over the boy. When he refused, she raised her weapon, and ordered him again - this time attempting to telepathically force him to do so. Walters was only a P8, and given a little more time, she and the other two guards would have succeeded.

But Dexter shot them all in the back and kicked them off the cliff. The two rogues grabbed the shocked, traumatized boy and took him back to the house, past the trail of bodies. Dexter explained that he'd already shot the Psi Corps guard who had remained at the house. They still had some time before Corps reinforcements arrived - even if they took choppers - and the townsfolk would be scared shitless to intervene, not against rogue telepaths who had taken out half the local office.

Dexter stepped over the bodies of Remy's parents and raided the cupboard for food - homemade bread and goat cheese. He took their blankets and some other supplies. Walters waited with Remy in the barn, saddling up the family's two horses for the journey to... wherever they were going.

They were long gone by the time personnel arrived from the Corps a few hours later and saw the aftermath of the massacre. None of the Psi Cops and staff had ever seen anything like it. At least one of the Psi Cops went into the woods to throw up. And not just from the sight and smell of blood and gore and death - from the sight of their very own coworkers, colleagues, friends - family - lying face-down in the dirt, lifeless. And then there were the child's parents, also dead. The horror was too much for words. Some Corps personnel who witnessed the carnage, and knew the victims personally, suffered flashbacks for years. Their friends, their colleagues, their husbands and wives - dead.

And - why? Because they'd wanted to help this boy go to his new school? Because they wanted to keep him safe from precisely the kinds of horrors that found him anyway?

Everyone knew that rogue telepaths around the world were bombing Corps offices, hospitals, schools - but the personnel in the local office never thought it would happen to them. And they had no idea what to tell the townsfolk, who blamed them for the entire mess. Never mind that it was the town that had called the Corps in the first place - if these city-folk, outsiders, telepaths hadn't come around meddling, none of this would have happened!

By evening, choppers flew over the region, searching for any sign of the two rogues and the boy. The normal police had also gotten involved, given the severity of the situation. They combed the hills. The choppers flew all night, as police searched the ground with night-vision equipment, but the terrain was vast and wild, and the police could find no sign of the rogues and Remy. The Corps sent a representative to every town within a hundred miles, to work with the local authorities and to offer some Corps presence in case the rogues showed up.

They would have to get supplies eventually.

Broadcasts went out on TV and radio, showing images of the two (already infamous) rogue leaders, and warning the public of the danger they posed.

The next day, one of the Psi Cops wired back with a lead - there were some rogue telepaths living in the hills around town, he said, and rumor had it they had picked up a very strong, peculiar telepathic signal the night before.

But again, it was a dead end - by the time more personnel from the Corps arrived, there was no sign of the signal, or any of the supposed rogue telepaths in the hills.

Desperate, the director himself got involved. Vacit ordered a top secret mission - he still (erroneously) believed Walters to be a double agent, working for the Corps as well as for the Underground. Dexter must have been behind the massacre, he assumed, and if he could send Walters' handler in to meet up with him in secret, then maybe they could still save the boy.

They got their answer when they found Fedor Ivanov lying face down in the deep snow, in a pool of blood.

A second trail of blood ran off into the woods. Walters had been wounded, too, it seemed, but had escaped again.

He couldn't get far, they assumed. He would need medical treatment. Corps personnel continued to search the hills and report back from the neighboring towns, but if anyone had seen the fugitives, they were covering for them well. Like ghosts, they had vanished into the mist.

And no one would find Remy for another year.

But that's another story.