“Knock knock,” Cho called through the door as she wrapped on the door.
The door was opened with minimal delay. Cho was surprised, her friend was actually ready to go. Ophelia usually needed a five minute reminder because, more often than not, she was lost in a book. Not tonight though. Tonight she had paid special attention, knowing they were planning on celebrating their reunion at the compound. After years of being separated they were both back. Ophelia had taken longer, wanting to complete her degree and return as a teacher, not an agent like Cho. Finally she had it and it would be just like old times. Well, not exactly, but it would be a grand adventure, and tonight it would begin.
“All set! Shall we go?” Ophelia asked
“Yeah,” Cho gushed, linking arms with her friend. “I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh? What is it?”
Dark cherry strands whipped across both their faces as Cho shook her head, “Nope. It was a condition of the surprise. I need to keep it secret. No worries though. You wont have to wait long. Lets get going.”
Rolling her eyes, Ophelia shut her door and absently scanned her card pass the sensor.
“You know you don’t have to do that anymore, right?” Cho joked.
“You don’t have to scan your card everywhere. We aren’t students, and even they don’t have to do it all the time. Just when there are mandatory security checks, which isn’t too terribly often. Just if there is a breach and we need to quickly account for everyone.”
Ophelia laughed, realizing what she was talking about, “Old habits.”
They made there way down to the parking garage, easily chatting about anything that popped into their heads. As they entered the parking garage they passed a couple of guys. The both leaned against the same motorcycle, quietly whispering to one another. Neither pair spared much thought for the other. Cho kept her eyes focused on where she was going, easily leading Ophelia over to her car.
“Cho – I cannot believe you still have it!” Ophelia laughed when she caught sight of the bright green bug.
“How on earth could I part with a classic?” She called over the top as they got in, noticing they momentarily had drawn the interest of the men. They quickly got in and left in short order. As they passed the men Cho realized the men were staring after the car. That is, until an agent came into the garage to address them. Putting them out of her mind she turned her attention to the gate pad where she keyed in the code so they could exit.
“You both are here to see the director, right?” Agent Campbell asked.
The men nodded.
“Really?” the younger of the two asked. “You don’t know who your boss is suppose to be meeting?”
“Oh shut it Jasper, clearly he is confirming we are who we say we are,” the other hissed.
“And clearly Graham, I was testing the waters to see what the personnel are like.”
“Yup, you two are the Powers brothers alright,” Campbell sighed. “Just what we need, more jokers on the team.”
The duo eyed one another and stood to follow Agent Campbell back into the compound. Jasper tossed a glance over his shoulder to scan the surroundings one last time. He noticed the car had finally keyed the code in and the gate arm now rose to let them out. Good thing they had brought the bikes. If things weren’t as they appeared and they needed to make a hasty exit, they could circumvent the gates entirely. Looking at the door he knew from experience that Graham would be focused on security systems and personnel. As Campbell scanned them into the compound Jasper set to work memorizing the path they took to the Directors office. After two, lefts, a flight of stairs, another left, two right forks, another flight of stairs they concluded with a double right.
Campbell knocked briefly before ushering Graham and Jasper into the office. He nodded at the older man sitting behind the desk before shutting the door after the men were inside. The old man smiled professionally at the brothers as he gestured for them to take a seat. Graham lead, per usual, and sat to the right of his brother who quickly followed suit after taking a moment to scan the room.
“Gentlemen,” the Director lead, ” You may be wondering why I’ve asked you here.”
“Apparently you are looking to expand your security detail,” Jasper quipped.
Graham picked up, “You have excellent taste in talent if that is the case.”
“No and yes,” The director smiled. He did a lot of that. “Let me explain. Your ‘talents ‘ as you call them, would, undoubtedly, be a an asset to our team. However its not a security detail, not entirely. Oh sure, protection is certainly part of the equation, but its not the entire part. First and for most this is a school and training center for exceptional children. On a secondary level we do recon and support on other exceptional events.”
“Well, although a bit clear, the water is still a bit murky,” Jasper said.
“For instance, recon: did you know about two decades ago there was a pharmaceutical company that were doing illegal trials? Their goal was to find a cure for night terrors. Seeing as children are prone to nightmares they started the trials with a group of kids who were between 3 and 8. The treatment had varying effects. Most children had no lasting effects. 15% suffer from mood swings, apparently out of balance from not getting proper nights of sleep. Another 7% suffer from insomnia, which is certainly one way to keep from having nightmares. Although neither of these side effects were acceptable to the company.”
He paused for a moment, to see if they wanted to say anything. Jasper still had a look of polite interest. Graham’s eyes, however, had a cold glint to them. They didn’t seem inclined to start asking questions yet though, so the director continued.
“Less than 1% of the subjects tested had weird reactions that altered their brain chemistry entirely. The trials came to my attention when I met one of those children. A young lady was brought to the school and when we were looking for the source of her ability we discovered the illegal trials. Ever since then we have been trying to find all the trials and check up on each participant to make sure they are all okay. Like I said, most had no lasting effects.”
Graham, unable to hold his tongue any longer asked, “What happened to the girl? How was she effected?”
“The center of the brain that senses fear was shut down. Her brain then retasked that part of her brain to improve her reflexes. She doesn’t experience fear like most would. Most people are shut down or more cautious when they are scared, but not her. If anything, she is more alive then, because that part of her brain is being active in other ways. She sees things clearer, can balance better, detects sounds from further away and more.”
Jasper and Graham shared a look. After holding the gaze for a moment Jasper looked away confused. Graham was a bit on edge.
Jasper asked, “You think we were part of this trial?”
“No,” the director replied, “I’ve had independent confirmation of that. I know you two were participants. What I think is that you are part of that 1%. I have been reviewing your files and based on the reports I have, it leads me to believe you are in the same ‘boat’ as her.”
“So you only want us because we were victims of some stupid drug company?” Graham challenged.
“Certainly not, you two are exceptional. True i found out about you through the recon work we were doing into that company, but I can always use men as skilled as you two seem to be.”
“Who was the girl?” Jasper asked.
“Her name is Cho.”
Jasper sat frozen. That name rang a dim bell. He thought he had just imagined the girl, only ever seeing her in his dreams. A red headed girl with almond shaped eyes. Apparently she wasn’t just a dream. He had possibly met her during these trials. Only he was too little so his mind had saved a version of her in his subconscious.
“Graham, that girl from the -”
“Way ahead of you,” he cut off. “Does she work for you know? About this tall wit dark red hair?”
“Yes, but how did you know that?” The director asked.
“We saw her leave while we were waiting for Mr. Campbell.”
“I see,” the director replied, a twinkle in his eye. “Incidentally it is ‘agent’ not ‘Mr’. The people who are here are either agents, teachers or students. So gentlemen. Have I piqued your interest? Any interest in joining the team?”
Part of Agents & Abbies