• The Auction

    07 – The First Spell

    Within ten minutes, Sacha’s living room had been transformed. Couches had been dragged out of the way to allow a small stage to be required – one complete with a digital screen background and spotlights. Snacks and charcuterie had appeared. Hewitt had helped Sacha roll several garment racks full of colourful clothes to one side of the room. On the opposite side of the stage, Magnolia had set up several pairs of mannequins. The fae man had introduced himself – Caipe – and explained that he was Hewitt’s fiancé. ‘To save you the faux pas,’ Caipe had said, ‘I’m a quokka, so please don’t always assume I’m happy. I have…

  • The Auction

    06 – The Devil, The Details

    ‘You’re going to have to say that again,’ Magnolia said, an accusatory finger aimed in Andrea’s direction. Curt hid a smile behind his hand and feigned a small cough so that Mags didn’t turn and kill him with a look. ‘If you’re asking her to repeat it,’ Carmichel said, ‘then I believe you heard her correctly. But once more, please, Agent.’ The sim room was sparse. An endless white expanse with two couches and a whiteboard. The first part of the training had been dense and detailed. Andrea had started by going over the default models of the sex doll sims if it had been purchased off the shelf and…

  • The Auction

    05 – First Plans

    Within fifteen minutes of returning to Queen Street, he and Carmichel were in a room with Ryan, Clarke, Jones, and Mags. Jones was in her girl mode today, and if there was one agent he could stretch the word “cute” to include, it would probably be Andrea. The person he was a year ago would have slapped him across the face. Today, he knew it was another step along the path of finally truly seeing agents as people rather than boogeymen. Clarke was standing near a window, cigarette in one hand, phone in the other. Someone – probably not Clarke – had cracked the window wide enough, so the nicotine…

  • The Auction

    04 – Invitations

    Most of the time, Carmichel came in a town car, driven by one of the combination valet/security guards he employed. This time, he arrived on foot. Curt returned Carmichel’s wave as he approached. No security, not even trailing at a respectful distance, not entirely unheard of, but it changed things a little bit. It probably meant that whatever info Carmichel wanted to pass along didn’t involve something high-risk or that would put immediate targets on their backs. ‘I don’t think I’ve taken you to this place before,’ Carmichel said. ‘It’s down the end here.’ Curt followed him down a smaller side street, mostly the backs of shops, older-looking buildings, and…

  • The Auction

    03 – Communication 101

    The puppet stared at him. Curt wasn’t sure that, in a million years, he could have imagined a little yellow puppet could have inspired such rage, desperation, and…something akin to the five stages of grief. And yet it continued to torment him. ‘Fuck you,’ he whispered. The puppet – the children’s learning program on his phone – rose a little, flapped wings and smiled. ‘Come on,’ it said, ‘you can do it.’ It was the usual platitude it said when it encountered a user phrase not programmed into its response tree. He couldn’t imagine many fairy toddlers spending a lot of time swearing while learning the alphabet. There were adult…

  • The Auction

    02 – Bedside Manners

    ‘If you’re not about to die, you can wait,’ Parker-2 said as soon as the infirmary became clear. ‘No problem, Doc,’ Curt said and took one of the beds towards the back of the infirmary while the twins tended to the fairy siblings. He tried not to look at the unmarked door that led to the morgue. Most people, apparently, didn’t even know it was there. He only knew it wasn’t some benign storeroom due to being “friends” with Parker-2. And right now, two cold shelves would be holding dead Solstice. Mags was right. Anyone who had fallen so far as to willingly kidnap kids probably wasn’t worth rehabilitation. There…

  • The Auction

    01 – Override

    6 Months Before Mirrorfall Curt screamed against the gag. Caught. Captured. On his way to an execution. Dead. He was dead. Unfortunately, whoever this capture unit was, they were good. His hands were cuffed tightly behind his back with no wiggle room to do anything. There was supposed to be some trick you could do by breaking your thumb, but he wasn’t even sure he had the leverage to do that. The gag was hot and wet in his mouth. Spit. Blood. Tears. The van rounded a corner, and his head slammed against the metal wall. Across from him, a little fairy boy – probably about five – shook the…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    22 – Simulacrum

    The door at the far end of the room was plain white, with a silver knob, something you could at Bunnings for a hundred bucks, and a really fun part of the process.  She spun the handle and stepped through, and kept her hand on the door as ahead of her, late-morning sunlight and the smells of the city came into view, her Agenty eyes having no problem adjusting the differing light levels – and they rarely did, unless the change in light was massive, and even then, it often wasn’t something that her previously-human maybe-still-too-falliably-human brain could notice – because even that temporarily disruption of senses at the wrong…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    21 – Work Day

    Some days were better than others, and she tried not to take those days for granted. Often, it was easy to get to three in the afternoon before realising that you hadn’t once had to stab a pen into your thigh to get through a conversation, or had spent hours staring at the wall, existing in a liminal state of self-hate. Sometimes though, it took until seven in the evening to realise that things had been pretty okay. That didn’t matter though, there were still hours left in the day – for her activity level, the automated calculator generally suggested about six hours of sleep, but really anything over four…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    20 – Asynchronicity

    It wasn’t unusual for there not to be a lot to read up on when inducting a new recruit – most of the people he’d taken through this process were brand new to this side of the world, so other than relevant civilian records, and maybe the incident report that got them involved with the Agency, the fae, the Solstice or some combination of all three, it was usually a fairly slim file. People, as a rule, didn’t transfer to Brisbane. There were exceptions, of course, he was walking proof of that, but mostly recruits were locals who had just been swept up in the bigger world that was hidden…