Maia had received the message on her DGA to report to the 'White Room' not long ago; she'd been taking a rather nice nap and took her time fixing her hair and makeup before bothering to follow the map illuminated on the DGA's crystal screen. Waking up was not an easy task for her.
It had only been a few hours since she'd arrived at the headquarters, and she'd spent most of it sleeping, so attempting to maneuver the halls with only a little map to guide her was not easy. At one point she was directed through a pair of heavy duty metal doors; the natural light and aesthetically pleasing décor was left behind in favor more militaristic hallways. Maia frowned as she continued through an austere hall and down a flight of stairs. Everything was starting to seem a lot more intense.
Minutes later the arrow on the DGA's screen began flashing, indicating she reached her destination. Maia looked up at a circular, white door. Like all the others, this door slid open before her, revealing an equally white room. It was large, clean and empty aside from a few stadium-style benches to the right, where two figures already sat.
Maia stepped inside and eyed the men sitting on the benches. She assumed the two were part of the 'new squad' like her, sensing the apprehension coming from their direction. They didn't have any more of an idea what was going on than she did.
The one who caught her eye first was the big one; he was hunched over, but it didn't hide his height nor the ridiculous amount of muscles on his person. Broad shoulders, arms like baby tree trunks, and thick legs made the guy appear almost twice the size of the person next to him, and the green army pants, gray muscle tank, black boots and black biker gloves only added to the intimidating appearance. A scar cut from his right temple partway into his auburn, buzz-cut hair; a piercing in the left brow of his square face and a tribal tattoo on his right shoulder finished off the tough guy look. However, the amicability in his dark gray eyes as he watched her managed to belie all this.
Removing her surprised gaze from the gorilla of a man, Maia inspected the second one. He appeared to be the complete opposite; not short, but lanky, wiry. His skin tone was more olive, and his black hair stuck up in the front with a minor widow's peak, adding length to his already narrow face. A long, thin nose and a black goatee accentuated this. Goggles rested casually on the man's forehead, and Maia guessed one of the lenses was probably his DGA; it was a common practice among handy-men. His worn, dark brown leather jacket and black jeans gave him a somewhat rakishly handsome air, though the hazel eyes set beneath thick eyebrows suggested something raunchier.
Overall they looked an odd pair; Maia wondered, as she walked over to them, how much odder they would appear with her added to the mix.
"Hello boys," Maia greeted in a breathy drawl, automatically assuming her 'pretty girl' role that she was so used to playing. Her green eyes glinted with a grin as she approached them, normal swagger back. "My, they didn't warn me the best part of being a Neo agent would be having such attractive partners."
The larger man laughed good-naturedly; his laugh felt as big as he was. Casting a wide grin back at Maia, he replied, "Damn, straight to the punch. You don't waste any time, huh?"
Maia shrugged nonchalantly; her grin remaining relaxed as she turned towards the lankier man instead. "That would be wasting fun," she responded while meeting the other man's hazel eyes evenly.
This man had one foot resting on the bench where he sat while the other remained on the bench below, a very confident position. After taking in Maia with his eyes, he spoke with an accent Maia couldn't place. "Now that's my kind of attitude. The little vixen's right, friend. If we're gonna be working so closely together, might as well get, ah… comfortable, now." With a smirk, the man put his foot down and patted the spot next to him. "Why don't you sit with me, sugar?"
Maia raised a brow in amusement and was about to respond when the muscular man interrupted abruptly.
"No way!" He jumped off his seat, standing at full height and looking back at the door Maia had come from. The man really was tall; probably six and a half feet. Maia looked back to see who he was talking to.
A delicate looking girl with flawless white skin and, oddly enough, long, glowing blue hair that appeared to float in the air as if under water stood in the doorway. Glowing eyes of the same color rested upon the big man, but Maia couldn't read the girl's expression. However, thanks to her empathy, she was able to sense the surprise and relief that this new girl felt upon seeing the man. Even with the oddities of her white skin and blue glow, the girl was stunning in an exotic way. High cheekbones, an elegant, straight nose and small but pouty pink lips were the most noticeable facial features; glowing blue bangs hid most of her forehead. But mostly it was that this all came together in some kind of elegant way, even Maia had to grudgingly admit.
The funny part was how her black leather moto jacket with the cream collar and the faded gray skinny jeans contrasted all that. Maia would have expected a flowing dress on this kind of girl.
"Ophira! I should've guessed if they called me in they would've got you, too." The muscular man took a few wide steps towards the door and rested his hand on the skinny girl's, Ophira's, shoulder. It was at that moment that Maia noticed the giant metal knight statue behind the girl. How in the world had that gotten there? It looked ornate and bulky, almost disproportionately so, like a statue out of the history books.
"Teague," the girl greeted in a faint voice. Her expression had only changed slightly, to a small smile. "You deserve this more than I do; I'm glad to see you here."
Both Maia and the lanky man watched the exchange with a single raised brow. They shared a confused look. Obviously there was a story there.
But speaking of stories—
Maia turned back, startled, to see Dax edging around the metal statue and the exchange going on between Teague and Ophira. He gave the two an odd look before walking over to Maia, a relieved look on his face.
"You don't look hurt. They said you weren't, but the last thing I remember was Raith breaking free…" Dax stopped and eyed the lanky boy still sitting on the bench.
The lanky man snorted, leaning back on the bench behind him. "Does everyone know everyone already? I'm feeling a little left out here." He was obviously kidding, eyeing Dax with a blasé air.
A different door slid open from the opposite side of the room and Commander Kalei strode inside, eyes quickly taking account of the situation.
"Children, children! Let's all be quiet and take a seat now, shall we? Introductions will be made shortly. Glad to see no one got lost." Kalei stopped in the middle of the room facing the stadium benches.
Obediently everyone took a seat; Maia was shocked to see the metal statue clunk along behind Ophira and stand next to the strange girl when she sat down. So that's how that got here. What in the world…
"Well done," Kalei stated offhandedly, eyeing the sundry group.
"I would like to officially congratulate you all on making it into the 48th squad of Neo Agents; Alpha Omega. Nice little juxtaposition, no? You lucked out a bit on that one. We go by the ancient Greek alphabetic order, don't ask me why."
Taking a breath, Kalei moved on. Despite complaining earlier about having to talk so much, she certainly didn't seem to try and talk any less.
"I'd imagine the first thing on your mind would be who this peculiar lot about you is. Therefore, I will begin with introductions." As Kalei spoke she took a few casual steps forward; where she had been standing a crystal screen rose from the ground. A picture flickered onto the glass: the girl with the glowing hair, and the bizarre knight statue next to her.
"Ophira," Kalei's sharp eyes fell upon the girl, containing a certain, satisfied gleam, "and the daemon, Atlas. Perhaps 'daemon' isn't the proper word; Ophira's ability is to animate objects to follow her bidding. I'll leave the rest of the explanations to your discretion. Oh, and, of course, Ophira's virtue is Intelligence."
Maia glanced at Ophira, but the girl's expression remained straight.
A new image appeared on the screen: the muscle man, grinning happily.
"Teague, with the virtue of Fortitude. I believe, Teague, that you and Ophira have had the pleasure of working together on a few jobs, yes? That will come in use. Teague's power is to duplicate himself."
The idea of tens of Teagues facing off against a single person sounded brutally unfair. Teague chuckled lightheartedly at his introduction.
Again the image changed, showing Dax looking listless. "The boy with the concussion: Dax, and fittingly, the virtue of Hope. He may manipulate and create ice at will. " Kalei's gaze made Dax uncomfortable, and the boy shifted self-consciously.
The sudden appearance of Maia's own image on screen caught her attention. It was weird to see her picture floating alone on a glass screen, looking important.
"The Empath, Maia, virtue of Charity."
Quickly the image shifted to the last man, the lanky one. Maia felt her indignity piqued at being breezed over so quickly.
"And last but not least, our virtue of Justice, Kato. Kato has innate capability, making him a virtual jack of all trades."
All five newly christened agents were glancing around at each other, attempting to be subtle but failing miserably. This was the group they'd be spending all their time with from now on; the five people they would be training with, eating with, fighting with. It was surreal to think these strangers would soon be so closely involved, and understandably they were all intensely curious about each other.
Kalei allowed for a few moments of not-so-subtle ogling. After she deemed the pause long enough, the Commander continued. "Now that everyone knows everyone… We'll begin your training. Through the door across from you is the changing room, where you will find your training outfits. Change, and return here for further instructions."
"Wait—what?" Maia blurted out, eyebrows scrunched together. "Training, today? What about, you know, learning… things…" Truth be told, Maia couldn't think of what else they might have to do before training, but it still felt far too fast for her. "And Dax has a concussion!"
"I will have something special for Dax set up," Kalei replied smoothly, looking adamant. "And you will "learn things" along the way. Learn by doing, no?"
From the other side of the bench, Teague jumped to his feet. "Hey, count me in! I want to see what they call training here." The large man was grinning enthusiastically. He glanced at the others, obviously waiting for them to join him.
"I'm ready." Ophira agreed impassively, also rising to her feet. The statue behind her appeared to stand at attention.
"Okay," Kato shrugged as he slowly stood up. "Try me." Instead of waiting for the others, Kato proceeded straight to the door across the room, giving Kalei a suggestive grin and eyebrow waggle as he passed her. Kalei did not meet his look.
Teague and Ophira followed after Kato, Teague making excited hand motions, punching his fist into his palm, and the statue, Atlas, trudging along behind.
At the benches, Dax and Maia exchanged uncertain looks. Dax rose after a beat and hurried after the other three, a determined look setting on his face.
Maia sighed. Fighting and exercise and all that crap wasn't exactly up her alley, but she had agreed to this. Pursing her lips, the girl jumped up and jogged to catch up with the others, calling, "Hold on! I'm coming."