• 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…

  • 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…