• 03 - Mirrorshades

    04 – Softer, Kinder

    It wasn’t weird to look at your own body.  It was really weird to look at your own body from a distance.  Stef reached forward and grabbed the hand of the simulacrum, feeling its weird room temperature texture.  ‘I know I disassociate pretty well,’ she said mildly, ‘but this is another level altogether.’ Andrea snorted, then went back to what she was doing.  The simulacrum, the first step of agentification, stood in the centre of the room like a short, bored shop mannequin. It was her, to down every detail, every pale freckle, every hair on her arm and, under the light hospital gown, every inch of horrible scarring.  ‘I…

  • 03 - Mirrorshades

    03 – Top Secret

    Being top secret was weird. It was like being back in her old life in certain ways – the life where she had no reason to go outside unless there was something she couldn’t get delivered through an app. Outside had been a sometimes thing, and that had been fine. Outside was loud, noisy, overwhelming, and full of people. But not having the choice seemed really limiting. Crawford had allowed certain spaces to be added beyond the walls of her suite and office, like Jane’s estate, but visiting there was still strange, still too much like her bio-family, even if it did come with the beyond wonderful chance to keep…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    50 – The Ways Forward

    There were little tricks all over the Agency, some far more subtle than others.   One of those little pieces of subtlety was the elevators, where the main, obviously accessible set of buttons listed a selection of floors – the “occupied” floors of the Agency. In contrast, if you needed to go to a storage floor, the roof or the basement, you needed to use the smaller panel to type in the floor number.   Curt slid his ID against the reader and typed in the number of the unoccupied floor. One, judging by the logo that appeared on the little information panel, belonged to Tech.   Tech. He’d expected…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    48 – Onward

    Stef slid into her chair and allowed herself to smile at Leaf.   Things would hurt. Maybe always hurt. But- But there was no reason she couldn’t enjoy the cuteness of a child right in front of her.   ‘All right?’ Jane asked.   Ryan saved her from questions about the long bathroom break by making a deadpan comment that she’d been defending the honour of a fictional character.   Jane had simply pointed out that Kay was still missing, then stopped Leaf from choking on an orange wedge.   ‘Any idea who your docent is going to be?’ Alejandro asked as he sat back in his seat but declined…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    47 – Ready to Start

    Stef stared at the three-foot-tall crystal.   On her first day as a recruit, she’d had no baseline for what was and wasn’t normal within the Agency, so it hadn’t seemed out of place.   Now, with the Venn diagram of magic and tech being a near-perfect circle, it seemed to stick out like a sore thumb.   Everything about the Agency was…simple. Streamlined. Simple commands and defined parameters.   The crystal didn’t fit into that worldview.   ‘Andrea?’   Andrea raised her head from the preparations she was making at her computer. ‘Mm?’   ‘I-’   There was a straightforward way to test the theory. She folded her hands…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    46 – Decisions

    With ten minutes until Crawford was due to arrive, Ryan left, giving her one last “good luck”.   They had tidied the office area, making everything as presentable as possible. Ryan had assured her she looked fine – and a quick trip to the bathroom mirror backed up his words, showing her that she was probably as presentable as was possible.   Stef looked at the clock. Five minutes to go.   She opened the requiring app and set up a carafe of water with a few glasses – there was no knowing if Crawford was going to bring company. It wasn’t what she’d been told to expect, but it…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    45 – Prim and Proper

    Scan after scan. Blood, hair and various biopsies. Tests that focussed on her human self. Tests that focussed on the solid chunk of magic in her chest.   The kitten pillows helped somewhat with the hollow, voidy feeling inside her, but just a bit. They weren’t a long term solution, but they helped in the really bad moments.   It was like getting used to a weird texture or taste when you had no choice but to endure it. When she’d tried to verbalise it to Jones, she’d simply nodded, commented “bad stim, gotcha,” and promised to keep the heartbeat pillows coming whenever she needed them.   With movement, it…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    44 – Lineage

    ‘I hope this was-’ Ryan started.   ‘You don’t have to keep saying shit like that,’ she said, ‘or apologising, or whatever. I don’t think you know how far above the baseline of every single fucking person in my life you are.’ She pulled the crinkled silver packet of coffee beans from her pocket. ‘Why’d you get these?’   Ryan blinked and looked a little surprised at the question. ‘Well, in the time I’ve known you, you seem to have drunk an inordinate amount of-’   ‘Cause you know I like coffee. Exactly. You got me something you thought I would like. And, to reiterate, I did. Last birthday present…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    43 – Cake

    In a way, the rest of the day was familiar.   After the accident, she hadn’t been in a coma – which was apparently Ryan and the others were referring to “being dead for nearly a month”.   No coma, but a long stretch without many memories. A long sleep, like a princess in a castle.   After she finally had a longer period of wakefulness, the days had been filled with tests. Blood draws and tentative appointments with specialists to address what hadn’t been sorted in the major surgeries.   A lot of her doctors had been hesitant to give her details – assuming that either she wouldn’t understand…

  • 02 - Mirrorheart

    42 – Birthday

    The hug was the only thing in the world.   One arm cradled her head, one wrapped around her back, and both held her to a warm, strong chest.   ‘Are you all right?’   There was the stock answer you were supposed to give to that question. The “yeah yeah, I’m fine, nothing to see here, you don’t want the real answer” polite deflection that most people expected.   If a cashier asked that, you weren’t supposed to give a real answer. They weren’t paid enough to deal with the emotional dump from a stranger.   If a magic secret agent man asked that after you’d just been resurrected,…