Beginnings: 2-7

The radio of the alarm clock began to blare, signalling 5 o’clock on the dot. As loud as Radio One carried to play on, nobody was around to turn it off. He’d already left, forty five minutes prior to when he was supposed to wake up. It’d always been the case, his personal body clock was always more fine tuned than anything man-made could provide. Every time he set the clock back, he’d wake up to the alarm morning, then wake up somewhere between half an hour to an hour earlier than when it sets off. It didn’t help that he couldn’t drop back off once he woke up.

It was something he had to endure.

Whilst he was out jogging, Grandmaster didn’t look anything like his namesake. Sporting tracksuit bottoms and a white vest that was far too lacking in coverage for such a mild winter morning. It hadn’t snowed, as it never did in England, but it was certainly dark enough that meagre light that the sun was starting to provide at this time of morning wasn’t good enough. Lamp posts illuminated his way as he jogged on, ear buds connected to the MP3 player strapped to his arm.

Lamp post. Too large. Not viable.

Not a soul in sight, not a car on the road as he pushed himself forward. It was calm and serene, a perfect temperament to gather his thoughts. Right now, he was Kai Rhodes, a man jogging with too little clothes, and only about ten minutes away from doing his morning 10k. He ducked under a stray branch that was crossing his path, briefly spying a much thicker one on the ground that he strode past.

Even now, his power was working, taking in information. He saw the branch and he could see the perfect point to hold for balance and could picture how much it weighed, what would be the best method to use it to strike somebody, approximately how far he could throw it and what method he’d need to use to utilise the weight and how lacking aerodynamically it was-

They were like intrusive thoughts, ones he could dismiss quite easily by looking away. All the information came to him in the time it took for him to register what it was, as if his basic sight also tuned into the object in question. All he knew was how best to use it to bludgeon seven shades out of somebody.

Funnily enough, it helped him to focus, especially when he was pushing himself. Little distractions took the edge off more strenuous activities, and made running bearable.

He made note of the perfect way to utilise two large branches, several smaller ones, a discarded shoe, his own shoelace as a garotte when he stopped to tie them for a moment, the key he took out of his recently unzipped pocket to get into his house. It was perfect for quicker, defter jabs and cuts.

When he got inside, the first order of business was having a shower, cooling off and getting ready for work.

His home was large, spacious. He had little in the way of hobbies and enjoyed his job, pulled in regular overtime. His position at the National Farside Unit was one that gave him a good salary with great benefits but little to spend it on, or others to lavish it with.

He’d kept to himself, mostly. He thought inwardly, didn’t suffer fools well, and held himself to a high standard. If he couldn’t do what he’d ask of others, he wouldn’t ask it. Exceptions were made for more exotic cases, Fargraced with abilities he could never muster. Because of this, he had little time to date or seek out a partner. There was often complaints from their end; one woman he’d seen before, a work colleague said she felt he spent too much time trying to fit her into his lifestyle. A man he’d met once told him he didn’t talk often enough, and spoke too much about work when he did, and he’d grown bored and called it off.

All reasons sounded the same. Excuses, each and every one. Exculpations that said to him, they weren’t worth the time if they weren’t willing to accept that work was a big part of his life.

Once he’d gotten himself clean and out of the shower, he went to the bedroom to change.

Don’t leave me behind. Can you see me, I’m shining-

He tapped the top button of the alarm clock, turning it off.

Unsuitable for sustained attacking. Likely to break in a single strike.

“Tsk. The shit they play these days.”

He was meticulous when it came to putting on his armour. Having eaten breakfast just after he woke up, all he needed to do now was gear up and he’d be ready to go out. Underneath his armour, he wore form fitting under armour that looked like carbon fibre, aimed for flexibility and to absorb sweat. He made a point of taking his time to put on every segment of armour, making sure each bit was as tight as it needed to be.

His helmet was put on last, stripped from the chord that was charging it overnight by his bed stand. He put it on over his head gently, allowing it to wrap around his skull.

It didn’t make him feel any more complete than normal. As all armour did, he felt protected and assured.

He went downstairs one more time to lock the house up, and swiped his car keys off the coffee table. He brushed aside the thought on how poor it was to stab somebody with something so blunt, though he could never not hold it so the weight was distributed properly. Even something so small as a key, he always held it for maximum effect.

Today felt a little different. Other than the regular schedule of parking up, getting through all the security checks, making his morning coffee and finishing off any errant paperwork that required urgent attention, he had something to look forward to. As he sat in his office, his helmet scanned over the paper he held in his hand, selecting sections of text and transcribing them to the interface inside his visor, so he could continue reading it even after he put it down. It also uploaded the written files to his computer. It was an incredible device, all the systems and subsystems accounted for, one that he was all too consciously aware about whenever he went on a mission or operation.

A single blow to the head may destroy something valuable, no matter how well protected it was. He hoped the money he shovelled into Artifex’s hands afforded him, and it, that safety.

He spied his coffee on his desk and stripped himself of his helmet, feeling the buzzing of circuits and electronics power down. He let it rest on the table as he took a sip of his coffee, begrudgingly swallowing it down.

“God damn, this instant stuff takes like dirt.”

He stared at it for long seconds before taking another sip.

“Better than nothing.”

He took the file in his other hand and leaned back on his chair, folding one leg over the other. He studied it for moments. A case file on Ryan Macey, leader of the Technomads. They had every bit of information they could afford to get from him, a few details from police files that they’d managed to haggle for. Nothing that they didn’t know already. Lists of outstanding charges, costs done for damages incurred.

He scanned it for a second, peeling back a small sheet of paper that was held by a paper clip to the top, noted nothing of importance, then threw the file onto the desk. It landed, with its edges perfectly adjacent to the lines of his desk. He took another sip of coffee, easier to take in once he’d assimilated to the taste.

He took a second to focus on the mug, and felt how it weighed in his hands. His powers were already informing him of how he could use this mug. Mundane information, how to use it, the knowledge and the muscle memory that came with it. He also had a feel for the structural integrity that it’d need to strike somebody with. A wealth of information, all pertaining to acts of violence.

He smiled, even grinned.

“Some sorta fucked up universe that gives me a power to know how to murder somebody with a mug.”

Tiring of speaking to himself, he blew on his coffee and downed the rest of it, grunting afterwards. He wiped his mouth on his fingers and thumb, rubbed them together, then discretely wiped that on the side of his chair. He put his helmet back on, letting it take seconds to case him in.

The power was already on and he had full visibility before the rest of the systems came online.


“Call NFU front desk.”

CALLING Front Desk (Work)

The phone rang three times.

Hello?” The voice was female, young.

“Hello.” Grandmaster left the comment to linger, knowing it would add just a drop of confusion.

Uhm. Hello, this is reception.”

“Hello, reception. This is Grandmaster.” He spoke intone, smiling to himself.

Oh! Oh, sorry, hello Grandmaster. How can I help?”

“I need a favour. When Agent Visionary enters, call me and let me know. Tell her I’m waiting.”

Okay, sure. Will do.”

“Alright. Thank you kindly. Bye.”

Grandmaster hung up the line, pushing against the ear with the comms to do so. Abrupt, but he didn’t need to waste time.

He took off from his seat and stretched upwards for a second. Some joint in his body cracked lightly as he did so, and he made sure to turn the light off as he left his office.

The workshop in the NFU headquarters paled in comparison to Artifex’s workshop, though it wasn’t lacking by any means. It was smaller, a single room with diamond plated metal grill on the floor. It had mostly the same configuration, with boxes lining the walls to the left as you entered, wooden benches with fireams being dismantled and repaired, soldiering irons and wire cutters strewn to the side. There was a control panel near the ceiling, to the left of the far side wall, next to a closed window.

A single man was here, young with short brown hair parted to one side. His white lab coat hid his figure, though he was staring at a grenade launcher in his hands that he was currently tinkering with. He’d dismantled the casing that gave it the appearance of an NFU weapon and was replacing one of the pieces of the cocking lever inside the gun.

Grandmaster knocked on the open door twice, and the engineer inside turned to face him. Freckles and thin lips stood out on his face. His helmet identified him quickly, providing him with the information as the square targeting him went green.


“Morning, Owen.”

“You must be… Grandmaster, yeah?” Owen put down what he was working on and got off his stool quickly, adjusting his coat to make himself look more presentable.

“Yup. Stand at ease.” He noticed he was awkwardly standing at attention, possibly in a means to seem more disciplined to his superior. “I’m not here to grill you. Relax.”

Saying this, Owen nodded and instantly grew more comfortable in Grandmaster’s presence. He slumped his shoulders slightly, giving him a nod.

“Sorry, it’s a habit, sir. Uhm, what do you need help with?”

Grandmaster took a quick glance around, left to right.

“Albert not in yet?” He’d ask, as much as it was obvious what the answer was.

“No, sir. He starts at nine.”

Grandmaster reached behind his head and began to take his helmet off, pulling apart by sliding the segmented plates holding it together. He took it off his head and walked over to the work bench closest to him, stepping a little to the side. He put the helmet down on the table and pushed a button. The panels went back and started to lock together. Owen stepped around to get a view of what was occuring, watching with a bit of wonder on his face.

“When he gets here, tell him I need the other settings activated on this helmet. Keep it safe. Make sure it doesn’t go missing. Especially don’t wear it.”

He looked down at him, and it was hard to tell if he was serious or not. For that reason alone, Owen looked slightly worried. Evidently, he’d probably not push his look, and he nodded quickly. “Okay, understood. Thank you, sir.”

“Thank me for what?” Grandmaster posed the question as he took a step back. His arms folded, his head tilted. He looked amused.

“I- I don’t really… know.”

Whilst he was a little confused, Grandmaster’s tone meant no harm. He raised his hand and made a mock salute to him. “I’d talk but I’ve got business to take care of. I’ll be back when my helmet’s sorted.”

Owen nodded. “Okay, see you later, sir.”

Grandmaster made a ‘tch’ noise and turned on his heel. As he walked away, he fired off that salute to indicate he was walking away.


There was a bit of derisiveness to his tone, though he only made the comment that he was called a sir over anything else. It didn’t seem to settle well with him. He walked down the corridor for a second and turned, as something caught his eye. He approached over to a vending machine standing by the wall, next to a potted plant. He scanned the options, and stared longingly at the option for a rich cup of coffee.

He shook his head and thought against it.

“I’ll be pissing like a fountain if I keep drinking coffee.”

A few seconds longer, he kept his glance, before pulling himself away from the machine. Abandoned in the hall, Grandmaster let it be, pushing onwards to other business.

“Grandmaster speaking.”

He’d returned to his office and checked over the paperwork that he had to fill out, for the recent raid on the Technomads. As he was almost finished, it was fitting to receive a phone call just as he was on the last leg of his work. He ran a hand through his hair, part of him feeling unused to having his hair not enclosed in his helmet whilst in this building.

Grandmaster, hello.” A familiar voice, the receptionist from before.

“Good news, I hope.”

Agent Visionary is here.”

“Good news it is. Thanks for the heads up.”

This time, they put the phone down before he had the chance. It caused his brow to perk, thinking nothing of it as a gesture. They’d done their part. He had to finish this before his part could come into play. He grunted, and resolved to finish off the paperwork he started.

It wasn’t long before he intercepted her. As per her normal routine, which he had gleamed from working with her for many years, her first stop was to always gear up and head to the equipment rooms. She never took her equipment home with her. Having custom made armour was a luxury that Grandmaster had, one perk of which was that his armour was technically his and not loaned by the NFU. He could have it anywhere, at any time. Otherwise, if it was part of the standard attire that an agent wore, it had to stay at the Headquarters.

He waited outside for her to get ready. The moment she opened the door, her head turned towards him as she walked out, even before she’d seen him. He turned to face her, arms folded and leaning against the wall. She saw his eyebrows were raised, and he was looking at the mask covering her jaw.

“The good doctor was right. Can’t see a thing.”

“Grandmaster.” She bowed her head. He did the same, with much less enthusiasm. “You’re enthusiastic.”

“The sun isn’t shining, it’s a miserable grey day outside, it’s probably gonna piss down later. My coffee was awful, as per usual.”

“Again.” She said, with a hint of a smile underneath her mask. She didn’t seem to wince any more; either hiding it, or grown accustomed to the pain.

“Again. The only joy I’m gonna get from today is getting this interrogation going. Once you’ve finished your morning routine, all your paperwork and other things that aren’t interrogating some lowlife, call me. The sooner we get started, the better.”

“I feel you’re eager. Too eager.” She said, voicing a concern.

“The clock is ticking, Visionary. This guy is holding the answers that I need to move on and hunt the bigger fish in this pond. When I get them, I can go after this, and put this wild goose chase to rest.”

“It feels like you’re trying to find the justification for your hunch.” She said. “Instead of letting the evidence come naturally.”

“Yeah, I’m sure you’d probably say the same as me if it was Sage that told you to handle this investigation.”

There was a silence. Visionary looked, stared at him, as the scant seconds between words felt like a gulf in the conversation.

If he’d hit a nerve, the pause and silence were the only indications. She kept her mask up, as far as he could see, obscuring her real reaction.

“You know what you’re doing, Grandmaster. I’ll make sure you stay on the right track.”

“I appreciate it. I’ll see you when you’re all good and done.”

They exchanged court nods, and parted ways for now.

Grandmaster had to wonder if he’d offended her. There was certainly a moment where she thought about what he said, though if he’ll ever find out what she thought about it, that itself would be a strange turn of events. For now, he knew it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

He had to wait just a little longer.

Four monitors, all facing different points in a single room. One was overhead and gave a top down view of a room, with a single table and two chairs, one already occupied by a dishevelled man. Two showed the perspective of each chair, facing the other. The final camera was in the wall, giving a horizontal view of the scene. Black dots in the room, which eschewed the standard reflective window that most interview rooms had. The cameras themselves were standard equipment. High definition, but entirely normal.

Visionary stood with her arms folded, watching the proceedings. Jason sat on a chair next to her, elbows on the table in front of him, fingers interlocked. They waited, patiently.

The door opened, and outside there was a view of two members dressed in garbs of Containment Squad armour. Grandmaster had finally gotten his helmet back, and he also had a file at hand. Nonchalantly, he flicked it out of his hand, landing right before the other man in the room, upside down to him and perfectly aligned even after it slid an inch or two.

Grandmaster took a seat slowly. Ryan watched him carefully, glowering. Glowing blue eyes, pale and light stared back into him, and he gauged every curve, how the mask concave inwards near the cheeks and around the speakers. The mask rendered him unreadable, other than body language.

On the other side, Jason glanced to Visionary. “Creepy.”

“He said it was intentional. Grandmaster requested the room to be featureless, and I know he’s not letting him see any facial expressions. It’s all for effect.” Visionary said, not taking her eyes off their colleague.

“Mmm.” Jason hummed back, looking between the pair. “I could bet money on who might swing for who first.”

Visionary gave him a glance, though didn’t reply.

Grandmaster’s voice was hollow, devoid of emotion. His helmet manipulated his voice, making it sound reverberated thrice. “Ryan Macey. Leader of the Technomads.” He flicked open his file, even though his helmet was feeding him all the information he needed. “36 years old. Brown hair, blue eyes. Noticable features, scar over left eyebrow. Blood type, B negative-”

“I want a solicitor.” Ryan barked back at him, arms folded and shoulders raised.

“-two brothers, parents deceased. Twenty nine charges of assault. Seven charges of premeditated, aggravated assault. Ten counts of major property theft, thousands of pounds worth of property damage-”

“I want a fucking solicitor.” He reiterated, as contempt grew in his voice.

Grandmaster heard him, let him talk, and merely carried on. “-several other charges present, and your stupid ass gets caught by the NFU. The only reason you ever managed to escape is because we didn’t have your case in the first place.”

“I said I want my fucking lawyer, you deaf cunt.” Ryan scowled deeply at him. Grandmaster seemed unphased, even leaning back in his chair. One arm rests on the back as he gauges. His helmet, modified for this particular encounter, was using facial recognition systems to try and discover any weaknesses or any particular reactions. Right now, it registered hostility.

“Right there.” Visionary pointed to the monitor, showing the back of Ryan and the front of Grandmaster. “He’s baring his chest. He’s showing Ryan he’s vulnerable, giving off the impression he’s not afraid.”

Jason cocked his head to Visionary. “Are you going to analyse everything they do?”

“Yes.” She said, bluntly. She turned and smiled back to him. “Yes I am.”

“Great.” She noted how dry he retorted, only making her smile wider.

“I heard you the first two times, I just elected to ignore it.” Grandmaster tilted his head casually.

“I want my lawyer, and I want my phone call. This won’t work on me.”

Grandmaster leaned forward, resting his forearm on the table. “Do you think we’re in a movie here or something? Do you honestly think it works like that? That you get dragged in here, I read your rights, you get some scumbag on thirty grand a year to tell me that ‘my client has the right to remain silent’?”

He let the comment linger in the air. Ryan scowled back to him, refusing to answer and refusing to change his body language.

“Let me make things perfectly clear.” Grandmaster pulled his arm off the table and sat up straight, appearing a little bigger. “The National Farside Unit are not the police. We don’t follow police procedure. We don’t owe shitbags like you squat. We have a period of holding before we transfer you over to the police, in such a case like this, as long as you’re currently in our custody, we’re only obliged to present the evidence of your charges and transfer you safely to their hands.” Grandmaster said, the tone of his voice only reflecting a tenth of the emotion he was putting into his words. “Up until that point arrives, you’re in our care. My care.”

“So you’d best simmer the fuck down, buttercup, and stop pretending we owe you anything.”

Jason tapped the monitor, poking the spot where Grandmaster’s head was.

“Not technically true.”

“No, not technically.” Visionary said. She tilted her head a little, observant. “In every other case, he’d be permitted a legal representative. Because of the Director’s Sanction-”

Jason finished her sentence. “-he’s got more elbow room to get answers.”

“Yes, exactly.” She nodded.

Jason slid his chair out and stood up. “I’m going to get a drink. Tea?”

“Yes, thank you.” Visionary smiled. Jason temporarily excused himself, and left the room. Visionary lowered her head, watching meticulously.

“We’ve got a few ways we can go about this. All we need is information. If you cooperate, this goes easy, all is well and we’ll see what we can do for you. I’d rather not bring up the options of what happens if you don’t. Ruins the surprise if you keep acting like a jackass.” Grandmaster made a dismissive hand gesture as he spoke.

Ryan eventually spoke back, after as long time to simmer. “Incentive, to rat out my lads? Fuck off. I’m not grassing in nobody.”

“Quite frankly, your ‘lads’ are going to jail. I don’t give a shit about them.”

“Then what you talking about?”

Your time.”

“Saying you’re gonna get me less years behind bars?”

“Oh, let’s not fool anybody here. You’re gonna be about seventy before you even see the outside world again for yourself instead of through a window.” Grandmaster said, bluntly. “We can see about shaving a few years off. This is less of a reward scheme, more of a punishment scheme.”

Ryan folded his arms tighter and leaned back in his chair.

“We have evidence to believe you’ve been dealing with somebody. You went into that warehouse with the intent on stealing specific items to give to a buyer. We want the buyer’s name.”

“Don’t know what you’re chatting about.” Ryan raised his shoulders. It wasn’t even a carefully crafted lie. Grandmaster’s helmet confirmed as such.

“Bullshit.” He replied, not shifting even a little. “We know you do. We know the items you stole for whoever this buyer is, were not found in your stash, and you shipped them off remarkably quickly.”

“Still don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I’ll lay it down again for you, seeing as you’re too stupid to see it.” Grandmaster said. “One way or another, I’ll find out who it is. With or without you. Once we do, you’ll be hit with charges for perverting the course of justice. Eighty, before you’re out, and we’re gonna make sure they know every single detail.”

“Guess you’ll find out with or without me talking.” Ryan looked unusually smug.

“I’m giving you the option for an easy way out. You tell us who, we don’t have to repeat this. I’m giving you seven days and the sooner you opt out and fess up, the better it’ll be for you.”

“Fuck you and fuck your offer.” Ryan spat at Grandmaster. The spit landed in the middle of his helmet. He didn’t seem phased.

Jason returned, holding two cups in his hands, covered by a white plastic top with a little hole to drink from. He put one into Visionary’s hand, and she didn’t even turn to look as he did so. He sat down carefully, holding his

“Did I miss anything?”

“Ryan spat on Grandmaster.”

“Ooh.” Jason pulled his chair closer to the screen, and took a sip from his cardboard cup. “Any reaction?”

“Nothing yet.” Visionary took a sip of her own drink. Jason made her coffee the way she liked it, at least.

“I’m still not sure who’ll swing first.” Jason frowned, slightly. “What do you think?”

Visionary refused to respond again, watching the monitor closely. Jason rolled his eyes.


“How much did he pay to keep you quiet?” Grandmaster folded one leg over the other, wagging his foot back and forth.

Ryan hadn’t responded. Grandmaster took it as a hint to keep talking.

“Couple of grand? Ten grand? Maybe you could join the Ten Granders. Heard they’re on the run lately.”

“Fuck them, and fuck you. You Farside bunch of cunts.”

Grandmaster’s helmet picked up on the extra vitriol used to spit out those words, and brought to attention a potential leverage point.

“Oh, so that’s what this is about. Somebody’s an insecure little asshole because of the Fargraced.”

“You all think you’re so great. You’re a bunch of freaks. Trying to fit into society, trying to pretend you’re not a bunch of fucked up freaks of nature. You’re taking away what makes Britain great.”

“I’m pretty sure neither you nor your buddies are gonna be in the category of what ‘makes Britain great’.” Grandmaster made a wave, as if physically throwing the comment into the room.

“We’re ordinary people. You Farfreaks are just hiding. You’re all dangerous. I don’t want my kids going to school, not knowing whether or not some kid gets bullied and starts using his superpowers. Time bombs, waiting to blow up, all of you.”

“Farfreaks.” Grandmaster sounded incredulous.

Ryan puts his hands on the table, forcefully bringing them down onto the wood. Grandmaster doesn’t flinch, or his helmet obscured that reaction.

“You on that Beasts of Britain facebook page? The one where everyone acts like a racist idiot and you all jack off to bombing the middle east?” Grandmaster’s tone is a little more mocking at this point. “Just asking.”

“How many times am I going to have to say fuck you before you get the message?”

“A few more.” Grandmaster replied with. “To be honest, I don’t want to hear your pathetic little tirade on what you think is right for England.”

Ryan shrugs. “You’re not gonna get anything else from me?”

Visionary had sat down on her chair, removing the top of her cup so she could drink more freely. Jason was leaning back in his chair, with the novelty of watching an interrogation starting to fade. He had one ankle resting on his thigh and barely suppressed a yawn, covering his mouth with a gloved hand.

“Do you think this will work?”

“I don’t know.” Visionary responded, taking another sip.

“What do you think’ll happen?”

“I think they’re both stubborn. I know Grandmaster won’t back down. He’s adamant about this, his feet are digging into the ground. He’s always pushed back when faced with adversity. Here or on the field.”

Jason nodded. “He doesn’t back down. That much I know.”

Visionary nodded. “We’ve worked together for a long time. We were on the same squad. Very pragmatic. Very stubborn.”

“You admit he’s good.” Jason raised a brow.

“I do. He is.” She turned to face him. “I just wished he would follow the rules a little more. It becomes a problem for me, especially when I have to clear up after him.”

“Is it worth the results?” Jason sips his tea.

“Sometimes. Fifty fifty.”

“I don’t get to see this side much.” Jason admits. “We only see the agents in action when we’re on the same missions. The stuff behind the scenes, the pecking order, the politics. We’re only filled in by hearsay and rumour.”

“Does it surprise you?” Visionary glances to him, waiting for an answer.

“It’s interesting. Different side of the coin.”

Visionary nodded. She took a sip from her drink, directing her attention to the monitor.

A few seconds later, her attention was at a knock on the door.

Visionary turned her head and gave a look to Jason, who offered a shrug in return. She opened the door after a pause.

Jason had never seen Director Sage in the flesh, and her clothing and general appearance was something entirely else. He sat upright, then forced himself up to stand upon realisation.

Sage walked into the room, her robe barely restricting her movements. She stood inside and left the door open, giving enough space for everyone to move around freely.

“Director Sage.” Visionary said and looked shocked, bowed her head politely.

Sage smiled politely, looking between the pair. Her gaze lingered on Jason for seconds, and he felt a weight pile on his shoulder. He didn’t baulk, standing at attention as if he was addressing any of his superiors.

“Visionary, Jason. Nice to meet you both.” She nodded her head. Her blindfold stuck to her forehead, tight enough not to budge from any movement, not tight enough to restrict or be uncomfortable. “Jason, I require a word with Visionary. If you’d excuse us?”

“Yes, ma’am.” He said with an affirmative nod.

“Visionary will meet you when we’re done. Go and get something to eat. You haven’t eaten anything since five o’clock this morning.”

Jason paused at that, recalling his morning, and slowly nodded. “Right away.” With a polite nod, he stood at ease before quickly absconding from the room. He made sure to close the door afterwards. Sage watched him leave, turning full body to do so.

When he was gone, she turned to Visionary.

“Visionary. Nice to see you. You’re healing quickly.” Sage smiled to her, folding her hands over her robes.

“Thank you, Director.” Visionary paused, reaching up to touch her cheek. It felt less sore than yesterday. The painkillers were doing their job.

“You’re wondering why I’m here.”

Visionary nodded.

“I won’t deceive you. I did say I’d be more forthcoming with you. I trust that we will keep this to ourselves?”

Visionary nodded much slower.

“Good. You’re wondering why I sanctioned this, to allow Grandmaster to interrogate this individual. He’s of little importance, this Ryan Macey, other than the information he reveals on the seventh day of his custody during the interrogation. Grandmaster will set things into motion from that point onwards. He will go to the police and be put on trial, they will find him guilty of many charges, and he’ll be incarcerated for quite some time.”

Visionary didn’t nod. She watched and listened, eyes wide.

“I see a lot of questionable things, and I know where they lead. This is quite small, quite tame in the grand scheme of things. It is however, necessary. No lasting harm will come to Ryan.”

“I… understand.” She says. Visionary didn’t quite understand, though by now she was used to anticipating that Sage would either inform her of what was to come, or leave it blank and cryptic and elaborate nothing about it. Today seemed more like the former.

“I’m here, Visionary, because of your desire for me to be honest with you. Another event will happen, something of importance. Three days from now, you will be on duty, on a late shift, and will be called out to investigate a robbery. You’re going to be dispatched to a location with Shaun and Alex.” Sage said. “I’m telling you this because you must leave before you’re dispatched to that scene. You’ll be there as it happens.”

“This sounds important.”

Sage smiles. “I can also tell you. You’re in no danger of any lasting harm, none of you. There’s no worry of your lives. That too, you asked me to tell you about.”

Visionary nodded.

“And the answer to your next question is yes.”

Visionary looked as if she was going to ask something, but relented upon hearing the answer. She just nodded instead, knowing she didn’t even have to ask at this point.

Sage nodded politely. “That’ll be all, then. When you have any spare time, do come up and see me.” She said, with a polite smile.

Visionary hid her bewilderment and nodded, before bowing her head politely. “I’ll endeavour to do so. Thank you, Director.”

Sage bowed, mimicking Visionary, before she turned to leave. She began to hum a small tune to herself, nothing that resembled any song. Notes and tones she made up as she left the room, closing the door behind her.

Visionary sat back down and turned to the monitor. She had time to reflect on what was said, what wasn’t said, and just how much Sage was hiding and letting on. The honesty was reassuring, though it was now a little more worrying to consider the future. She’d never given thought to what’d happen in three days time, now she knew something was going to occur.

The fact that Sage had to assure her that nobody would be really hurt, didn’t seem to help neither.

Grandmaster’s voice broke her out of her train of thought.

“Seven days. You have seven days. The longer this goes on, the more I drag it out. We’ll see how much you like Fargraced when we introduce you to a few.”

Ryan’s eyes narrowed for a second. Grandmaster’s helmet picked up on the reaction, keying him into it.

“Yeah, we employ a lot of talented, powerful people. See, there’s a few that we don’t get to use. Really powerful stuff. I hear one of them can rip your memories out of your head. I use the word rip because that’s what it’s the equivalent of.”

“You don’t scare me.”

“You should be.” He says. Grandmaster leaned in ominously. “Seven days. Give me the name, the honest truth, Ryan. Don’t be an idiot.”

Grandmaster started to stand up. Ryan sat down, still defensive and unyielding, hostile to a fault. Grandmaster turned and knocked twice on the door before calling out.

“All done for today. Take him back to his cell to think on it.”

The door took a few seconds to open as the guards allowed Grandmaster to leave. Visionary watched as he made his leave, and watched as the two guards came in with handcuffs and began to escort him outside. The camera even got a glimpse of Grandmaster wiping the spit off his helmet, before he turned to walk to the observation room where Visionary was sitting.

“Three days.”

She spoke and touched her jaw lightly, turning off the monitors. She stared at her reflection in the black glass, watching her own reflection.

Her daze was broken by Grandmaster once more, who opened the door abruptly. He held a tissue in one hand, and there was a trace of a smudge on his helmet.

“Visionary, you were quiet. Here I was, hoping you’d be the angel on my shoulder.”

She turned to him and smiled lightly. “You behaved yourself. I didn’t see the need to interrupt.”

“I always behave myself.” He said dryly. “Prepare the recordings and bring them up to my office. Get some food, we’ll run over these tapes and see if we missed anything.”

Visionary nodded. Grandmaster gave her a flick point before he closed the door.

It took her a minute of thinking in before she found the motivation to clear her thoughts and act, do something other than indulge in introspection. She pulled out a laptop and started to wire up the monitors to it, and began to download the interrogation.

It would give her ample time to think, at least.