2-6

Beginnings: 2-6

Jason stumbled and collided into the wall to the right of them. Visionary had turned entirely away with her hands over her ears and her eyes shut, topping over onto her knees from the concussive force of the grenade. Grandmaster had only managed to turn halfway before he stumbled, almost shunted away by the blast, and slammed his hip into the table and shoved his elbow down onto it to get his bearings. At first, it was totally dark, in the next few seconds their vision was obscured by pure white, and their hearing was a fog of feedback that overwhelmed them.

Of all three, Visionary had been hit the worst. With nothing to protect her face, nothing other than eyelids to cover her vision and only her hands on her ears, she was barely protected. Her balance suffered dramatically and all grace she had was forced out of her, and she had to put a hand on the floor to even remain upright. Grandmaster suffered less, though he still took the full brunt of it. Were his helmet fully operational, it may have provided some sort of counter measure, or offered greater protection.

Jason of all of them seemed to be taking it better, though that wasn’t saying much. He was still disorientated greatly, and the wall was the only thing keeping him upright. By virtue of having experienced this before, he had braced better than the others, and his helmet came with a physically protective element to it.

They weren’t able to gather their thoughts to realise that a greater threat was striding around the corner. The man who threw the flash bang haphazardly walked around the corridor, and seeing the devastation he’d left, he acted more seriously.

His armour wasn’t different from Jason’s own, but it looked much less refined, older and worn out from excessive use, wear and tear, and age. In his right hand he held a weapon, a gun of sorts. Uncharacteristically smooth compared to other NFU items, it looked more like a pump action shotgun rather than the rifles that they normally employed. It was connected by a thick tube from the handle to a small square device on his arm, which had a purple gem set in the middle. It glowed and hummed with an alien energy.

The helmet he wore was a hybrid; from the back to the cheeks, it resembles Jason’s own with an uncanny accuracy, though the front had a visor of sorts. His face pinned him to his thirties, and he had a large scar over his left eyebrow.

He walked forward to them and raised the gun, cocking a lever on the side. Power flushed from the gem and began to whirr to life, pumping energy down the tube until a circular panel on the top began to glow with the same royal colour. It took a few seconds to charge up, and clicked to signify that it was ready.

A few seconds was all he needed that the flash bang provided to him. He knew which targets to aim for first, and held his gun to up to Visionary, who was trying to stand up. He pulled the trigger, not even bothering to aim precisely.

It sent out a gout of superheated plasma, which looked more like a purple solar flare in a plume of force that erupted from the nozzle. The spray would have covered all of her torso, if she hadn’t somehow predicted or seen it coming.

She desperately shoved herself out of the way of fire, managed to get clear of it before it had done grievous damage. She grabbed Grandmaster and tackled him in the same stroke, throwing them both to the floor behind a desk.

The man was stunned for a second, and fury grew over his face. He didn’t care if they couldn’t hear him, and his voice lashed out to them in a Mancurian accent.

“You fuckin’ Fartouched are all a pain in my fuckin’ ass. You can’t even be shot right.”

Jason had began to regain his vision and though concussed, he took the time it took their assailant to speak to stagger and throw himself behind a set of desks further away from them. He took out his rifle and held it to his chest, getting a sense of his surroundings. He was groggy, every sense in his body telling him he needs to give up. Through conditioning and experience, he braced himself.

Visionary and Grandmaster stumbled to the floor. Grandmaster seemed to be getting his senses back a bit more now, and started to blink and look around. Spots of black began to crawl into the edges of his vision, and he saw Visionary lying on his hip, as well as the damage that their assailant had caused with that weapon to the ground.

The floor was a mess, as violet flames flicked around the blackened floor. The carpet had been stripped away, as had several lesser layers beneath it. The man advanced forward, still quite a distance away. His weapon needed time to recharge, and was drawing on energy with each passing second.

He elected to go into cover rather than be in the open and manoeuvred behind some desks. It could take up to half a minute to recharge, judging by how slow it was siphoning energy into the gun. He struck it with his fist, muttering for it to go faster, impatient as he was. He knelt down behind the desk, facing the NFU agents, lying in wait under the assumption that they had no idea where he was.

Grandmaster looked to Visionary, who was getting herself off of him and they both huddled behind the desk. Even in her weakened state, she managed to reach for a grenade on her belt and forced it loosely into Grandmaster’s hands. He looked at her, still unable to hear anything they might say, and she held up two fingers for him. Then she quickly brought her hands together, in a shielding motion.

Two. Cover.

Grandmaster knew what weapon he was against, judging by the damage it caused. It would charge itself with Eldritch energy and fire a short stream of superheated plasma, in a spread like a shotgun, and vaporise an area. It had a catastrophic effect on human flesh, and even their armour wouldn’t help them much here. He also knew that the current versions of the firearm were really illegal, and took upwards of a minute to recharge their shots.

Failing the element of surprise, he lost his biggest edge, and he was recuperating.

With a nod, he took the grenade and shoved his head out. The motion made him feel uneasy but he could see a shadow beneath the second desk furthest away from them. He took the pin out and threw it so it’d land near his feet, and as quick as he could muster he whipped out his pistol and took aim.

It bounced and rolled near the man’s feet, and he had the advantage of being able to hear it much better. It still took him largely by surprise, unaware of a retaliation so soon. He scrambled to his feet and plunged himself out of cover, a second before the grenade went off.

Grandmaster opened fire, though his accuracy wavered and he missed a fourth of every shot. The armour worn by the NFU did a lot to help shake off the effects of fatigue weaponry. Even with three shots planted into his arm, he barely wavered. The man ran behind the wall where he’d previously hidden, giving him a perfect view of the door leading to the stair care.

Here, he had an excellent vantage point that he used before. If they all went through the middle or the right door, he could hide behind the wall so they couldn’t see him, and he’d get the drop on them. He assumed they wouldn’t split up, and gambled on it to get the drop on them.

Grandmaster couldn’t hear a thing still, but he knew he’d be harder to find by voice this time, and still had cover to work with. His voice sounded slurred, not able to hear to use the right tone of voice.

“Ryan Macey, you slimy bastard. Illegal firearms are gonna get you life, you fucking tool.”

There was a chance Ryan had forgotten how long a stun grenade rendered the victim deaf, or he assumed because Grandmaster was speaking that it’d worn off. He acted more tense and serious instead of slumping against the wall. He looked down and saw it hadn’t charged yet, and muttered out a ‘fuck’ before deciding to reply.

“All you NFU cunts are the same. You think you’re so special with your special powers. This ain’t even your problem, so fuck off.”

It fell on deaf ears.

Jason carefully picked his head up and judged the situation. He saw Grandmaster was aiming to the wall, and went under the assumption the target was active and pinned. Jason knew this was chaotic and there was no lines for communication between them, so he had to act in the best interest of the team. He took his rifle up and aimed on point, trying to match near the location of where Grandmaster was. His helmet helped where the effects of the flash bang still lingered.

Visionary had managed to get her eyes open slightly now, and she blinked a few times before standing up, as if unaware of any danger or threat, or uncaring. She took out her bar mace and gripped it in two hands whilst she approached the wall, and began to follow it around. She stopped just as her shoulder was about to meet the edge of the wall and lay in wait, watching Grandmaster carefully.

He nodded back to her. Ryan stirred a little, impatiently waiting on his shotgun. He turned and eyed the door, and a thought came to him. At this point, Visionary raised her hand up and made a gesture that resembled talking to Grandmaster. He nodded in return, and began to speak. Just a second after he did, Ryan began to move for the far door.

“This is a waste of time, Ryan. The building’s surrounded, but I bet you think you’re gonna get out.”

Grandmaster’s voice was useless to Visionary, as she couldn’t hear, though he was loud enough that it masked her own movements from Ryan. She pointed to Jason, who seemed to have had his attention caught by her, and she points from him, to herself. When she begins moving, he understands and continues aiming. Grandmaster meanwhile, has an understanding of what she’s trying to do, and gets up from cover to go to the spot she was standing in, pistol down and ready.

The standoff had lasted long enough that their hearing was coming back. Jason had managed to get all of his back and was otherwise fine, other than a mild concussion. Visionary still felt the worst effects, her vision still somewhat disorientated and sound not fully returning. Grandmaster was in the middle as far as vision, disorientation and hearing went, and he could hear enough over the droning buzz in his head to hear movement far ahead.

Jason had an opportunity, and he pushed into his ear with a single finger.

“This is Squad Commander Jason, target engaged. Wait for signal. Over and out.”

Ryan had fled around and went through the far door, then crept past the stair and opened the other door. There was some wall waiting for him to take cover behind. He glanced at one of the walls opposite him and cursed the lack of a window this far back to give him a good reflection. He paused and pulled off the wall, glancing around the corner, guessing they hadn’t heard him yet and he assumed they thought he was still in the same position. He caught one of the agents, still aiming on his old position, and moved back into the wall for cover.

He looked down at his weapon, and the hum became much more audible. When it clicked, he let out a small sigh of relief. With the gun in hand and finger on the trigger, he turned and went to spring out for another surprise attack.

Visionary intercepted him. The moment she heard the click, she held her mace ready to swing the moment he acted. As he did, she stepped out and swung it straight into the plastic of his visor. It crumpled upon impact, shielding his face from the majority of the trauma, though it was heavily cracked. The recoil caused him to stagger back, straight into the door he came from, and prematurely fired. With with arm out and to the side, the blast evaporated a large chunk of the nearby wall, and everyone could hear the sound now. Impact, melting, pressurised air.

Visionary almost lost her balance and staggered to the left despite this, and he was quicker to respond than she was. She swung with a single hand on her mace now, and he darted backwards. He went to club her with the end of his currently useless gun. Though she’d managed to evade it, it lacked the usual grace. Her movements were sluggish, mentally bogged down. She didn’t give him chance to act on it, and instead stepped forward to try and swing for him again. He moved backwards once more to dodge the blow, so he was closer to the furthest door to them; the door on the left when they had initially come upstairs.

Ryan noticed this, at least, and he quickly stepped back and shoved the door open with his body. Visionary didn’t relent and begun to give him chase around the corner.

“Damnit. Jason, call them in, we can’t let him charge up.”

Jason nodded, and both of them begun to mobilise around the corner. Jason was busy sending an order through his comms.

“Containment Squad, move in. Approach through back entrance and engage. Over and out.”

His hearing had totally cleared, hearing the response with no buzzing or interference.

“Affirmative. Moving in. Over and out.”

Ryan had got enough room now that Visionary closed in, and they stood at a standstill for a few seconds. She was aware that she wasn’t in a position to bide her time, and she needed to be aggressive. She made the first move, a swing with her mace that was a feint more than a full swing, and she tried to get herself ready to avoid the counter blow. He came at her, trying to jab at her with his gun. Concerned that it could still fire, she moved to the side of it and tried to bring her mace into his open shoulder.

He was quicker than she expected, or she wasn’t in the best mental state to judge it. He brought the weapon in between him and the mace and a shattering collision of metal rang through the open room. He raked her weapon to the side and she stumbled, trying to pull away before he had the chance. Seizing the moment of her weakness and with her unable to throw herself out of the way, he slammed the butt of his gun straight into her jaw.

Visionary tumbled onto the floor, already caught off balance, the blow had caused her to reel and she rolled onto the floor. He didn’t wait for her to get up, and didn’t check to see if the weapon had reloaded. Ryan brought it up with the intent on firing, and had both hands on it before he felt something hit the square of his back, and once more as it hit his shoulder.

Grandmaster and Jason had got into position behind some desks on the far side of the room, and began to unload a salvo of fire onto him with rifle and pistol. The shots didn’t do anything to breach the armour he wore, but it began to take some effect. More importantly, he wasn’t aiming at Visionary, and he could see what unfolded next.

It started with two, then four, then six. Ten men of the containment team that entered in pairs had begun to pour into the room, rifles raised and aiming towards Ryan. The last two came in with more conventional firearms, though they all bore the same designs. They formed a ring to reinforce Grandmaster and Jason. Two of them had broken off and began to walk down to the door, aiming to make sure all ways to leave were sealed off by men and weapons.

“This is the National Farside Unit, put down your weapon, put your hands up and move away from the agent. We will use force if necessary.”

Ryan didn’t move, a deer caught in the headlights. It took him a few seconds to weigh up his options, studying the men and their guns. Their fingers were on the trigger, not resting to the side like he had hoped, and they had an air of discipline and authority. Slowly, he reached over to his left arm and found the Velcro that held the power supply to his arm and pried it off him. It hung awkwardly off the weapon, though they were both put to the floor. He raised his hands slowly, though it was clear he didn’t want to do it.

Grandmaster, Jason and the six other agents took aim and hit him with a single shot of their fatigue weaponry each. He staggered, as if hit square in the chest, and they fired once more. With the wind and consciousness knocked out of him, he toppled onto his back and landed to the floor with a thud. His armour protected him against the brunt of it, but it still had some effect. It just took a lot longer than usual, and a few more shots.

Grandmaster was the first to raise and he holstered his pistol on his side. He went straight for Visionary and offered her a hand to get her to her feet, which she eagerly took and stood up.

“I took the first shot I could. You alright?”

Visionary nodded slowly.

“Well fuck me.” He said. “You can be hit.”

Visionary looked at him and seemed to smile, though she winced slightly afterwards. She leaned on him for support.

“Looks like I can. The concussion, it-”

“Don’t make excuses.” Grandmaster interrupted her. He quickly perched his head upwards and Visionary tried to follow where he was looking to. His helmet had begun to close his visor off until it was back how it was before it was hit by the Bug, and his eyes came back to life slowly. All trace of the face beneath was hidden again, his voice augmented and more mechanical than before.

SYSTEMS ONLINE.”

“That would have been nice to see the guy through the wall before he flash banged us.” Grandmaster said, with a tone showing he took some humour in the situation.

Jason stood and pointed to Ryan on the floor with his open hand. “Containment Squad, we have four targets downstairs, five by the stairs and lift, one here. Prepare them all to be escorted to the cells. Good work, everyone.”

The men all nodded and began to divide themselves up. One began to call for more vans and reinforcements to come, in preparation to begin taking the Technomads away. The others began to mobilise and went to start to gather the bodies. Everyone was starting to make their way to the front entrance of the building, after hoisting up the bodies of the unconscious criminals in a fireman’s carry.

Jason approached Grandmaster and Visionary, who both nodded at him upon arrival.

“Grandmaster, with permission sir, I’d like to help my men with evac.”

“It’s not necessary, Jason.” Grandmaster replied. “You just took a flash bang. We need you and Visionary to get checked out. I’m not going to have you overexert.”

“You’ve already gone above and beyond duty, Jason.” Visionary was smiling, despite her eyelids flickering as if to indicate it still hurt her to do so.

“With all due respect, I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t feel I could do it. I’ll get checked out immediately afterwards.”

Grandmaster paused and studied him. His helmet gave him a trove of information, though the health of his target wasn’t one of those things. He just nodded to him.

“Permission granted, you crazy bastard.”

Jason nodded, his expression and response to that comment weren’t seen. He made his way to the other men, and begun to guide and tell them where to go with the unconscious bodies. He himself wasn’t any stranger to getting stuck in, as he was preparing somebody to be carried by himself by laying them on their back in a spot with enough room.

Visionary stood on her own weight now and rubbed her jaw. It still hurt when she moved it, a throbbing pain that amplified if she spoke or moved her mouth at all, though it was manageable.. Grandmaster was busying himself by looking to the side and verbally checking that all features of his helmet were working properly. He was making sure the targeting systems were fully functional firstly, then his thermal and regular vision. Cycling through them all took a minute, and Visionary waited for him to be finished. She leaned against the wall as she did, part of her not trusting her to stay on her feet too long.

Several more members of a second Containment Squad that were waiting near the site had begun to enter the building. They began to enter through the front door and began to make a sweep through the building with their weapons raised, though they’d been told that the threat had currently been neutralised. They still followed protocol and made sure that the site was safe and nobody was hiding, as well as trying to locate any caches of equipment or other ill gotten gains that may be hidden. They were quick, efficiently prowling through the building. Once the building was made secure, they began a more in-depth search to look for stolen goods.

Grandmaster lead Visionary downstairs, and made sure he collected the weapons he previously discarded. Jason had been cleared to stay with his men, and the two Fartouched were making their way to leave. Grandmaster kept his pace with Visionary, who was still feeling the lingering after-taste of what the stun grenade had done to her. They opened the door to go outside and the fresh air hit them, a sudden sting that made them aware of the sweat on Visionary’s head. Covered head to toe, encased in armour meant Grandmaster didn’t notice, though when he inclined his head to Visionary he seemed to notice and paused to give her a second.

With a nod, they made their way back to the van. They may have won for now, but any celebrating would have to wait for the time being.

Visionary watched as Grandmaster left the room through the door she was facing, as she sat on her chair in the hallway. They were back at the headquarters and they were in the small wing of the building where they held a small doctor’s office. Grandmaster had his helmet off and held underneath his arm, and he looked about as sour as he normally did after getting examined.

“The good doctor’ll see you now.”

He didn’t sound pleased, though he never had. For some reason, he was never a fan of getting checked up. Doctor, dentist, opticians, Visionary had never seen him respond to those visits as anything other than a grunt and a bad look on his face. Visionary had even heard him say he’d rather pull his nails out with a pair of pliers. She didn’t dare test the theory but she had nudged him previously to do so, and he never refused yet.

She stood up, already feeling better than she had done before, and entered.

The office was clinical, sterile. It didn’t differ from a general practitioners you’d see in any small town. Whites everywhere, everything clean and tidy. To the immediate left was a desk housing a computer and beyond that was a filing cabinet. To the immediate right was a coat rack, and behind that was a small table that housed some examination equipment on a metal tray. In the far left corner was an examination bed, which had a recent indent where somebody heavy had sat. On the furthest wall was a sink and all the sterilised equipment she’d need, and the doctor herself was sat on a computer chair that faced another chair, pulled away and ready for Visionary to sit down.

She’d met Dr. Owens only a few times since she’d been here, not having to really worry much about her own health. Half of the times, she was taking a recruit there, but every so often she found herself within these four walls. The doctor was as surprised as she would be, though she gestured openly to the chair in front of her. Visionary took a seat.

“Well, you’re not one I see here very often.” Her voice was high, unmistakably welsh. Visionary took a single look over her; her blonde hair was straight and in a bun atop her head, and she had a chubby face that was shaped by square glasses. The rest of her was a bit above average in weight, though she seemed to have some pride in her appearance. She wore make-up, though it seemed she’d been conservative and applied less, rather than more. “It must be the end of the world!”

“Not today, Doctor.” Visionary smiled, resisting the urge to flinch again. “Has Grandmaster told you?”

“Oh, yes. Stun grenade. Nasty, that.” She took a clipboard from her desk and began to write down a few things.

“I’ve been hit in the jaw with a gun. Nothing too serious.”

She looked at her for a moment, glasses on the bridge of the nose. “Don’t be silly, everything is serious, even that.” She pushed her glasses back up. “Tell me what happened.”

“I was caught off balance and got struck here by the butt of a weapon, as big as a shotgun.” Visionary removed the face mask that was covering the lower half of her face from view. She pointed to her jaw; it was inflamed and pink near the hinge, and the area was raised slightly compared to the other side.

Dr. Owens stood up and walked over and held her hands out, clad in latex gloves. “May I take a look?” She waited and Visionary nodded.

“Yes, please.”

She took Visionary’s chin and jaw in her hands delicately and began taking a visual inspection of the wound. She touched her finger to it lightly and Visionary inhaled a little, which caught the doctor’s attention.

“Open your jaw, please.”

She did, and the doctor nodded.

“Close, please.”

Visionary followed the orders as instructed.

“How does it feel?”

“Dull throbbing normally. It’s uncomfortable when I talk, hurts to be touched.”

“Ah.” She said, then sat back down again and started to write on her clipboard. “Just a bit’a blunt trauma. I don’t think it’s been fractured or broken. It’s probably going to go blue and purple and fade in about two, three weeks or so. Keep your mask on and nobody will know.”

Visionary nodded and smiled. As if to demonstrate, she blinked, the discomfort disrupting her breathing pattern.

“The best thing I can recommend is that you have your jaw scanned to see if there’s any lasting damage.” She took out a prescription form and began to hastily write something down. “I’ll prescribe some painkillers for your jaw. As for your concussion, I’d advise you not to do any strenuous physical activity for the next few days. See how you feel, but I’ll put in a recommendation for you to be off-shift just to be safe.”

Visionary stopped smiling. “I should be fine, I don’t feel as if I’m that affected-”

Dr. Owens cut her off, wagging a pen at her. “Doctor’s orders!” She smiled. “Even Visionary needs a day or two off. Give it a few days, okay?”

Visionary paused, but relented and nodded.

Dr. Owens reiterated. “No assignments, I mean it!” She tore off the prescription and handed it out. “Lots of rest for you, miss. And cocodamol. Probably best not to drink on the wine if you fancy a tipple.”

Visionary smiled a little wider and took the receipt. “I’ll try not to have a drink. Thank you, doctor.”

“Alright, now off with you! Go and rest. I’ll have a word with the Director about it.”

Visionary took this as her cue to leave. She stood and neatly bowed her head, and made her way out of the office.

Grandmaster was waiting outside, legs spread slightly. When she came out, it took him a second to realise. It was guessed that he had something playing in his helmet that distracted him, and it turned off once she got his attention. He stood up and took his helmet off his head, after a few seconds of it opening up to release him.

“Lemme guess. Painkillers and ‘don’t work for a few days’?” He asked.

Visionary nodded.

“Could’a guessed. She told me the same. Bollocks to it. I’ve got more important things to do than sit at home and feel bad for myself.” Grandmaster ran a hand through his hair. “Good work today, by the way.”

“It was nothing.” Visionary said, though her humbleness was grating him.

“It wasn’t nothing and you know it. But, we’ve been there, argued that a few times. I’m not gonna bother.”

She smiled to herself, that same smile. This time, it was a small victory to her that she was happy for.

“Well, I’ve got some good news on the way.”

“Oh?”

“I made a few calls. We’ve got overwhelming evidence of the Technomads and past crimes, and these crimes are the straw to break the law’s proverbial back. If we get this whole ordeal done quickly, they’re gonna be facing a decent amount of jail time for all the crap they’ve done. More importantly, we’ve got something new. We’ve got their leader in custody. We probably wouldn’t have gotten him there if we hadn’t have held back the Containment Squad until he was engaged. Probably would have bolted it if we went in there with all guns blazing.”

Visionary nodded.

“But as you know, I’m a man who has to see things through. We don’t have the Ten Granders so we can’t do diddly squat about the stolen animals, and I’m pretty sure none of the suits or higher ups care about a few cute and cuddlies being taken by a girl who, on record, loves the little bastards and can control them to a degree. We’ll have to get them later. Going on my original hunch though, whoever was contacting the Ten Granders probably got in contact with the Technomads as well. Which is why we’ve got their leader before they hit town.”

Visionary nodded again. “Judging by how bare the building was and the lack of any of their previous successes, it’s safe to assume they’ve moved everything away, and the goods they stole in question have passed hands.”

“Bingo. Whoever’s doing this is quick and good, gets some low lives to do his dirty work and then washes his hands of them. He doesn’t care if they’re caught or not. But, we want nobody tipped off, so this isn’t hitting the media.”

Visionary paused and tilted her head slightly, as she briefly thought about it. “What are you planning to do?”

“What I’m planning to do is get answers. We’ve got the leader with us right now. Tomorrow, we’re gonna eat a good, greasy breakfast, then we’re dragging his sorry ass to an interrogation room, and then we’re gonna get some answers straight from the horses mouth.”

“Interrogation.” She said, bluntly.

“Yup.”

“I’m not asking you to partake. I need you to be there and to watch it, because I know you can pick up on things. And maybe your voice in my ear will make sure I don’t knock his teeth down his throat.”

Visionary looked at him for a scant few seconds.

“You know there’s a good chance I’ll probably at least threaten to do so.”

“I know. It’s why I don’t think you interrogating anybody is a good idea.”

“Hey. I resent that remark.” He said, rolling his eyes.

“Resent as you may, I stand by it.” She folds her arms. He notices, and raises an eyebrow.

“I promise I won’t go over the top but we need answers. Now’s a better time than any, and I need you there.”

She had to contemplate this. Not one to pace around, she simply kept her eyes pinned to Grandmaster. He may have thought she was trying to intimidate him by doing so, though he didn’t seem to budge on the issue.

“I will, on one condition.”

“Name it.” He barked back.

“Get a Director’s sanction on the matter-”

Visionary’s phone had started ringing.

Grandmaster raised an eyebrow, then he furrowed his eyebrows. “You’re joking.”

He sounded legitimately surprised. Visionary took her phone out of her belt pocket and checked the number, holding it up for Grandmaster to see.

Director Sage.

She answered, wasting no time.

“Hello?”

Visionary, this is Director Sage.”

“Hello, Director.” She was giving her the benefit of the doubt. The Director could be calling for any reason.

I’m here to give you explicit, verbal permission. This is a Director’s sanction to proceed with interrogation of Ryan Macey tomorrow.”

“Understood, Director.”

Tell Grandmaster that I know he hates it, and he has to deal with it. Go and get some rest, Visionary.”

The director hung up.

Grandmaster raised an eyebrow and folded his arms. “I hate it when she does that.”

Visionary smiled wide enough to hurt, and she didn’t seem phased by it. “She knows, and she said to deal with it.”

“I’m not sure that I like that the NFU is ran by a precog of some kind. Glad she’s on our side.”

Grandmaster nonchalantly shrugged, then turned to begin walking down the hallway. He put on his helmet and paused as the plates began to run around his head, sealing him into his armour. The lights of the eyes lit up, and his voice took on that reverberating tone.

“Make sure your breakfast is a good one, Visionary. We’ve got a good old interrogation on our hands.”

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