A young woman checked her watch as she entered the plain brownstone building noting that it was past lunch. She'd been late leaving her apartment and reaching the unmarked building down a Salisbury side street. The woman herself was hardly more than twenty-four and was short, with a classically handsome face and extremely long mahogany hair. Dressed in black pants, black boots and a black jacket broken by a red shirt under it, she looked like a reformed goth gone business student, her naturally pale skin and black lacquered nails adding to the effect.

After glancing around the room, which was bare except for a battered desk in the corner, the woman wandered over to the desk and looked around it with some curiosity. Except for a fine layer of dust, nothing seemed to have touched it in a long time.

"Miss Gage," and voice behind her suddenly rang, causing her to flinch and spin around. A rail thin man in a black three-piece suit seemed to have materialized on the stairs as if from nowhere.

"You must be Mr. Spencer," the young woman said, turning hurriedly towards him.

The man nodded and gestured towards the upstairs.

"Yes. Forgive my absence at your arrival. We try not to attract any attention here. You understand the delicacy of the situation," he said, "Please let me show you to the board room and introduce you to the other parties involved."

The woman nodded and followed the man up the stairs into a stark room at the end of the hall in which sat four other people at a long table. The whole atmosphere was stiff and a little bleak.

"Gentlemen, may I introduce Miss Kali Gage, expert in paranormal phenomenon," announced Spencer, "she is our resident authority in acts with no rational explanation. Miss Gage, might I introduce you to Silas Matthews of the National Museum, Philippe Roux of the Paris Organization and Father Aaron Carver and Father Roland Dante of the Order of Light and Order of Our Lady of the Rose, respectively."

Kali looked around the table. Silas Matthews was an elderly man with an important air about him and with a paunch. He looked to be in control of the table. To his left, Philippe Roux was a slight Frenchman who looked uncomfortably out of place. Fathers Carver and Dante looked like polar opposites. Father Dante was dignified and had a slightly hardened look to him, as if he'd seen too many years of service. He was a heavily built man with a shock of snow-white hair and flint hard gray eyes. Father Carver was much younger, looking hardly more than twenty-six or twenty-seven. He was tall, but built leaner with very dark hair and an extremely handsome face. His bluish almost green eyes were intelligent, but had a slight naivety to them that Kali found rather odd for the situation. Kali caught herself thinking that some people just weren't cut out for being priests, and this Carver, being far too young and good looking, would seem to be one of them.

"Gentlemen," Kali said firmly, with a nod then taking a seat without being asked. She ended up sitting across from Father Carver, who she seemed to have startled quite a bit for some reason, as he eyed her with blatant curiosity.

"As you all know, this situation is very precarious," Spencer stated, moving to the head of the table, "you're all here because of the discovery of Rosemont papers. As you all know, Victor Rosemont was an explorer and professor who became obsessed with finding the Gate of Fire. These gates, which were written about by several Roman and medieval scholars, were supposed to be the sealed doorway from earth to hell. They have been considered a myth for centuries, but Rosemont thought they were real and collected much information before his death about them. Recently, some of his possessions, which were thought to be lost, were discovered and among them were some papers, which claimed to identify the location of the gates. This would all have been written off as the fancy of a mad man, had not the Titan Corporation taken them seriously."

At this point, Roux took over.

"It seems the leader of the Titan Co., Alexandre Rogan, took Rosemont's claims very seriously. Rogan is an intelligent man and very ambitious. There is little doubt that he would follow this map on a wild goose chase. There is something in the writings that Rogan takes seriously. If those papers do lead to the gates of hell, there is a large problem, to say the least."

Matthews nodded.

"The papers mysteriously disappeared and around that time Rogan and an expedition team headed to Russia. We can only conclude that the team feels they know where the gates are," he said.

There was a momentary pause.

"What does this have to do with us, really," Kali said suddenly. All eyes turned to her, but her expression of slight aloofness didn't change, "what exactly do you think two priests and a writer can do?"

That comment caused Father Carver to look slightly offended and Father Dante to stiffen. Spencer almost nervously cleared his throat.

"You see, it's the discretion we need," he said, "you, Miss Gage, have extensive knowledge of the paranormal. Fathers Carver and Dante also are very learned in that area. What we want you to do is to follow Rogan and assess the situation."

"Couldn't someone else do that?" Kali persisted.

"Unfortunately, no," Spencer said with a shake of his head, "a normal person would not be able to judge whether there is anything to worry about or not."

"And if we find something to worry about?" Father Dante said, speaking for the first time.

"You will report back to us," Matthews said, "and then do what you can to contain the situation."

" 'Contain the situation'?" Kali said, rather incredulously, "I'm not the riot police."

"Well, we simply don't know the full extent of the circumstances and you three seem to be our best option," Spencer said almost apologetically.

"And if we feel we can't?" Father Carver said, his voice low and English.

"We have no other options," Matthews said with a shrug, "you'll have to do it."

Kali's eyes widened.

"What that a threat?" she said rather harshly.

Spencer and Matthews exchanged looks.

"Not yet," Spencer said finally.

Kali's eyes narrowed and she noticed that both priest's looked surprised as well.

"We'll speak more later," Matthews said authoritatively, gathering himself to leave.

"You'd better hope we do," Kali almost snarled, her dark blue eyes blazing, "I don't like being threatened."

Father Carver looked at her with some admiration.

With an appraising look, Spencer, Matthews and Roux swept out of the room, leaving the three chosen ones sitting at the table contemplating each other.