Part 2 of Tomorrow's Children.
|Dates run:||September 29, 2005 - October 3, 2005|
|Read the logs:||Kashmir Waltz|
It's the Himalayas, Angelo. You're supposed to be knocked on your ass the first time you see them.
When Nathan and Angelo go to Kashmir to investigate the suspicious activities of an NGO, wacky adventures and close encounters with Gideon abound.
Suspicious about the sudden interest in mutants of an NGO that had been known to pass information about militants to the Indian government, Nathan and Angelo went to Kashmir to check out the situation on the ground. Nathan, still recovering from his fight with Pete and suffering increasing side effects from the psionic overcharge of the Askani's presence in his mind, promised Moira that he would take a cautious approach to the investigation, and reserved himself and Angelo rooms in a good hotel in Srinagar, where they could pose as wealthy trekkers if need be.
Angelo found Srinagar fascinating, loving the opportunity to see more of the world, but they quickly refocused on business, visiting the office of DRMA, the NGO in question. Nathan distracted the sole staff member with a telepathic trick and got a list of DRMA's food deliveries in upcountry Kashmir. He and Angelo left the city, deciding to stop at some of the villages on the list and get the view of the locals on DRMA's activities. Their ultimate destination was Sonamarg, where one of Nathan's old friends ran a trekker's bar.
Out on the road, their rented Jeep broke down, leaving them kilometres from the nearest village and necessitating sleeping under the stars. That night, Nathan finally told Angelo about what had sparked his sudden interest in humanitarian work, giving him the whole sordid story of Gideon and Saul and how he wound up at Mistra. Angelo, though shocked, promised to keep the information confidential.
The next day, with the Jeep fixed, they were back on the road, and not having much luck talking to the locals. Fortuitously, they ran across a young woman, Samie, who was hitchhiking her way to Sonamarg and from there to Ladakh, along the trekking route. Nathan offered her a ride and enough money to buy her way onto an organized trek if she traveled with them as their translator the rest of the way to Sonamarg. Samie agreed enthusiastically, and she and Angelo struck up an immediate friendship.
At the next village, they met a young telepath and found out that after DRMA had passed through the last time, they had been followed a few days later by a government representative offering the girl training and a job back in Delhi. The young telepath was delighted by the opportunity, but Nathan was concerned about the implications. At the village after that, they were confronted by an angry father who had reacted in the exact opposite way to the government's interest in his son and believed that they were there to pursue the matter. They left immediately, not wanting to provoke a fight.
In Sonamarg, they met Nathan's old friend Duncan Murray, a former member of the SAS who had married a local woman and stayed in the region, opening a bar patronized mostly by trekkers heading to Ladakh. Duncan promised to ask around regarding DRMA, and they were settling in for an enjoyable evening of catching up and conversation when some of Duncan's more traditional Kashmiri neighbors arrived to confront him about selling alcohol. A barfight ensued, Nathan and Duncan and the patrons of the bar coming out on top, and celebratory drinking followed. Nathan proved that epilepsy and recent massive physical trauma meant that he couldn't hold his liquor, and Angelo and Samie had to steer him up the stairs and to bed.
The next day, they parted company with Samie, who headed off on her trek, and took the road back to Srinagar. On the way there, they came across DRMA personnel delivering food aid, and one of them consented to be interviewed. She told Nathan that DRMA was indeed helping the Indian government contact mutants living in the rural area, so training and other support services could be offered. Nathan was startled to realize that the woman regarded this as very good work, and faced with her obvious sincerity, began to doubt his own suspicions.
Back in Srinagar, Nathan lingered in the hotel bar, contemplating the trip. When Gideon appeared in the nearly empty bar, Nathan managed to stay calm. A quietly vicious conversation ensued, in which Gideon made it very clearly that he knew about the questionable nature of Nathan's childhood memories and suggested that they had indeed been fabrications. He departed, leaving Nathan with an envelope. Among its contents was a picture of a much younger Gideon and Nathan's mother. Nathan correctly interpreted this to mean that his uncle had been there in Alaska after all, and had synched to his mother's telepathy, explaining why he was so proficient with borrowed psionic powers. Nathan took the next logical step, and realized that the reason he didn't remember Gideon was that his uncle had removed the memories with his mother's telepathy, leaving holes that Nathan's wounded mind had filled with false memories.
Hours later, Angelo came down to find him, and Nathan filled him in on his conclusions. They retired for the night, Nathan in a bleak mood that wouldn't lift for some time.
Trivia and Meta
Angelo remained in frequent contact with Samie after he and Nathan returned home, and met her again in Moscow during the events of Epiphany Frosts.