• 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…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    19 – Incoming

    ‘There’s one rather significant piece of new business I’d like to start with,’ Ryan said. ‘If you’re fine to start there.’ Curt settled his folders, laid his Agency phone within easy grasp of his right hand, and then nodded.  Even working from a still-limited experience pool, it wasn’t unusual for Ryan to start a meeting with something that hadn’t been on the anticipated schedule – though mostly it was usually just chatter from the Outposts, which made it something that essentially passed as their version of “casual” conversation, as being anything other than one-hundred-and-ten per cent professional in Ryan’s presence was still a mammoth task. Chatter from the rest of…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    18 – Active, Passive and Changing

    Rising into his field of view like a dark star, Magnolia settled herself on his stomach, thick thighs gripping his side, one hand lightly tapping against the T-shirt that always stayed on, no matter how intimate they got.  ‘O’Connor-’ Curt smiled up at her. ‘I know your feelings on the subject, but the afterglow is allowed to last more than a few seconds, Mags.’ Strong fingers that had been wrapped around his cock just a few minutes ago tapped his stomach. ‘Not when there’s work to do. We just get to move forward with our moods elevated.’ She shifted one of her legs and slipped her hand under the hem…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    17 – Beyond the Obvious

    [Do you want to see something cool?] Stef focussed on her HUD, and let her body continue to run through the better-get-used-to-autopilot ballet program. It was definitely getting easier to cede control, to work with the automation, and to find the limits of where she could still make choices and decisions, even when autopilot was running. In a way, it was like IRL quick-time events.  And she wasn’t sure if that made the whole process better or worse. Her arms lifted and flowed in time with the music, in a way that was literally unnaturally graceful, pushing her body into forms so perfect that not even Madame Cousteau would be…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    16 – Assignment: Australia

    ‘If I’m not safe here, you’re not safe here.’ Jonathan seemed to examine the floor tiles closely. ‘I won’t be safe anywhere, Vincent. You, on the other hand, out of sight, out of mind, you might have a chance.’ Vincent picked up the basketball and tossed it from hand to hand, never worried that he’d miss, trusting muscle memory he had no memory of muscling.  Indifference from the other Phoenix agents he could handle. For whatever relationship he’d had with Williams, Paulson and Honeycutt before – though he was getting the impression the departments here worked largely as independent silos, even more so than standard department-separated Agencies – they seemed…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    15 – Bronze Medal

    It wasn’t something that one tended to notice on a day-to-day basis, but within the Agency, colour was very important. It was something you could know, objectively, but largely forget about until you were brought face-to-face with it. Each continent had their feature colour, and there were shades within each region so that, with either practised eyes or a HUD, you could get a pretty good idea of where someone was from, just with a glance at their uniform. There were also the distinctions made within an individual Agency, that when inter-department schedules were made, there was a handy system to know – again, at a glance – who was…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    14 – Niche

    The cover story for the trashmaids was weirdly similar to the reality, but rather than it being a magical colony microbe, the video that played on Curt’s phone showed a story of an extremely weird fish species. The fictional fish apparently used corpses as a nursery of sorts, laying eggs in whatever unlucky John Doe had sunk to the bottom of the river, and as the fish hatched, they’d slowly worm their way into the body, eating their way through it as they grew larger. And all these little fish wiggling about inside a body could, of course, make it seem like a dead body was moving. A perfectly viable…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    13 – Trash and Flotsam

    ‘-is that there’s rarely a good time to make a “Keeping up with the Cardassians joke,’ Curt said, then held up his “work stuff, be quiet” hand and tapped his earpiece. ‘O’Connor.’ Stef quickly looked down at herself, made sure that there were no snack remnants on her uniform, just in case it was time to head out into the outside world, and sat like an attentive puppy, waiting to hear what they were doing next. ‘I’ll loop in Agent Ryan,’ he said, ‘we’ll need- Talk to Agent Jones and see which of his teams will be best. Send the location to Stef, and let them know we’ll be onsite…

  • 04 - Ebb and Flow

    12 – Support and Communication

    The eight days she had been an agent were surely some kind of microcosm of what the rest of her life would look like. Breakfast in the morning, at a time too early for pale hackers to be awake. Mostly it was Curt, greeting her with a coffee and his stupid, bright, morning-person fresh face.  He’d knock. She’d groan like a zombie. She’d reach out from under the covers and accept the coffee – and at least the coffee was to her specification – and he’d sit on the end of her bed, and “accidentally” drop piles of paperwork on her quilt-covered legs until she sat up and paid attention.…