Chapter 1

The room was the size of a two-car garage and had no windows. At one point in time, years ago, it had been the physical therapy room of the clinic. Now, A sink and counter lined on wall, cupboards running along the whole wall above the counter and various drawers and cabinets below the counter. A mirror was above the sink. Along another wall, the wall opposite the door, were bookcases from on corner to the other with books alphabetized and ranging from alcoholism to zoology. There were books on history, medicine, science, math, animals, weapons and hundreds of other subjects. There were books in Russian, German, French, Italian, Gaelic, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and various other language. Another wall had computer monitors and whiteboards of various sizes mounted to the white surface. Only small slivers of the wall was visible anymore. The final wall, the wall that had the door, was covered in maps entirely, no portion of the blank wallpaper visible beneath the paper. The whole world was represented on the wall, maps of every country, every continent, and even some cities. In the center of the room there was a circular table that could seat about 15 people. Currently, there were two people sitting at the table and one older man standing in front of the monitors. The older man had olive skin, features that were slightly Italian, and black hair peppered with grey. He wore scrubs, dark green ones with Crocs that matched. His dark eyes were closed, head bowed, as he heard the words spoken.

"I have your wanderer now, finally. If you'd like him back, you are so welcome come and TRY to get him, my guards need shooting practice." A harsh laugh. "In the mean time, I am going to break him."

At the table, both people had laptops. A Latina woman with long brown hair tied in a braid and hazel almond-shaped eyes sat with her head in her hands, quiet sobs ripping from her throat, her ear piece thrown across the table and her laptop closed. The other person, a teenager with bright yellow spiky hair and goggles pushed up onto his forehead stared at his monitors in shock. He had 6 laptops in a semi-circle in front of him. Both of them were silent as they waited for the older man to speak. A girl with long blond hair sat in silence at the desk in the corner, staring ahead.

"Sparky...can you reach the others yet?" The older man asked and the teen nodded numbly, typing something. On four of the 19 computer screens, various people appeared. One woman, three men.

"What the fuck happened?" The woman demanded sharply. Blood coated the left side of her face and she was shaking.

"We lost communication, is everyone alright?" A man with the faint traces of a British accent said. "Check in. Jericho, in."

"Nicholai and I." A blond man with a medium Russian accent said. A bruise was over his eye and his lip was busted. "Sorry. Nicholai and Yuri, in."

A man with a white masquerade mask said nothing but simply nodded and held up a notecard that said "Fitch in."

"Sherri and Flynt in," the woman snarled and wiped blood from her face.

"Where's Quincy?" Doc asked, scratching his jaw and looking at the different screens.

"Where is Travis?" Sherri corrected and Doc looked grimly at his people. It dawned on Yuri first.

"He was captured." The Russian murmured, looking over his shoulder at someone else.

The silence was palpable as this sank in. Doc closed his eyes and rubbed his temples as he waited, wondering who would speak first.

"Everyone…bring it on home. We'll discuss what to do next when we get there," Sherri ordered firmly, her lip quivering and eyes glistening as she tried not to cry.

All at once, everyone nodded and the screens went black.


"Where the hell is Quincy?" Jericho demanded, stomping into the room. Sherri was close behind, fists clenched and arms shaking.

"Please sit, we will debrief momentarily." Doc said gently, guiding Jericho to a chair. Jericho pushed the older man away and turned on Rebecca.

"Where. Is. QUINCY? That bastard better be dead or I-" Jericho snarled at Rebecca. Just then, Yuri and Nicholai ran into the room and forced the British man to sit down. The brothers took their seat as Sherri slammed herself down in another chair around the table. Doc shook his head and stood at the head of the table of Flynt and Fitch entered.

"Sit down and listen." Doc ordered. He nodded to Rebecca who replayed the conversations with Travis.

"Careful, Wanderer."

"I always am."

"Yea, yea, yea. 5 blocks ahead is the bridge. I'm serious, though, be careful."

The garbled noise of what was clearly two vehicles colliding.

"Wanderer, answer me, answer me please!"

And then the man's words that came before communication cut out.

Jericho was pale, and bowed his head. Sherri looked down at her hands. Flynt and Fitch were silent as Nicholai glanced over at Yuri. Once more, the Russian spoke first.

"We'll go find him. I will leave tonight."

"No, you won't." Doc shook his head and sat down, closing his eyes.

"And why not?" Yuri asked evenly, leaning forward.

"Because I said."

Everyone turned as two older men strode into the room. One looked like an aristocrat from centuries past, wearing a long-sleeved red shirt, a black dress vest, and black slacks and dress shoes. A long cloak sat on his slender shoulders. He had jet black hair that was swept back, and he had oddly colored, lavender eyes and alabaster skin. He carried a black cane with a golden handle though didn't appear to actually need it. His expression was cold and harsh, and he examined everyone in the room was a keen eye.

His companion stood a several inches taller then the aristocrat, at 6'2" compared to the other man's 5'8". This man, though in his 60s at least, had broad shoulders hidden by a dusty black duster. This man wore denim jeans and a black cowboy vest over a grey button-up shirt with the long sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He had a cowboy hat concealing his white hair, which was tied back in a ponytail that fell just past the nape of his neck. A pair of black cowboy boots completed the man's appearance. The man had skin the color of coffee mixed with cream and had wrinkles around his eyes from years of smiling. A shovel was on his back, held in place like a sword by a leather strap that crossed his chest diagonally.

"Silas," Doc stood up and shook the hand of the aristocrat. He turned to the cowboy and said, "Slade."

Yuri narrowed his eyes at Silas and Nicholai grabbed Yuri's upper arm. "I don't take orders from you, I'm contracted." Yuri pointed out coldly, crossing his arms.

"True. However, I can easily place a call to Moscow. I am a Governor, my word is law," Silas said harshly and then he smirked, "Insubordination, it would be. I hear in Russia, the partners are punished as well, and just as harsh as the offender of a crime."

Yuri paled and grabbed Nicholai's hand. The Russian sat down and bowed his head in submission.

"How pathetic. Now," Silas turned back to Doc, "Give the orders, Doc. Say the words that will make them hate you."

Doc sighed and closed his eyes. He then turned and looked at his team, who looked at him expectantly. He met each of their eyes before continuing. "One of our own has been captured. In light of this, no rescue mission will be set in place. By law of the Council, anyone who is captured will have their file left open and deemed as MIA. After 2 weeks, it will be closed and deemed Out of Action. After 6 months, the file will be labeled Deceased and will be Archived. And after a year, if there is no word, the file will be purged. In the event that the agent has been captured and we find out about it, it is an urgent priority that the agent is eliminated as soon as possible if rescue is not possible. After elimination, the file will be purged and all records of the agent in others files will be deleted. The agent will no longer exist. This isn't word for word from the Book, but it is the basic outline of a law you should all know." Doc told them.

"And?" Silas waved his hand in a circle.

"And, with the recent increase of assignments, we do not have the time nor manpower to engage in a search and rescue. You are all forbidden to search for Travis." Doc said this last part almost silently.

"What?!" Jericho jumped up.

"No!" Sherri screeched and slammed her fist down on the table.

"That's outrageous!" Nicholai snapped and stood, Yuri following his movement.

"Anyone discovered searching for Travis will be given level 4 punishment. My word," Silas looked at each and every person, meeting their eye, "Is law."

With that, the man turned and left. The cowboy got to the door and then turned. "I'm sorry for your friend," he had a thick Texas accent, "but there's more goin' on. It really is a safety measure." The cowboy turned and followed his companion down the hall.


Diane sighed and walked in the kitchen of the Zodiac Café with a yawn.

"Tired?" The cook, a bulky German named Kraus, stood at the sink, skinning a raw chicken.

"That's gross. Yea, I'm glad it's Friday. Been a long ass day." Diane groaned and sat her bag down on the counter. "Summer finals suck and the clinic was nuts today!" Diane washed her hands and grabbed her apron. She went out to help fellow waitresses Zoe and Cindy. The shift manager, a gay young man named Shawn, stood at the bar flirting with a college student.

For a Friday night, it was relatively quiet. Only a few people sat scattered around the restaurant, but it was only a quarter until five, and the place would no doubt liven up by about 7.

Diane went in back and saw Kraus, for once not doing his job. He was watching the news, which currently showed a man in all black racing on a motorcycle to escape the police.

"The suspect is headed north on Webster Street. Witnesses state subject is a white male, late thirty's, well-built and six foot something in height. Suspect is armed and dangerous, riding on a red and silver Yamaha Star, license plate PV2-623. Suspect has escaped over the bridge and is headed-"

Kraus growled and shut off the TV before picking up his phone and gesturing to the prepared plates. Kraus went outside and Diane frowned. She didn't know Kraus had any friends. She took the plates out to the man who had ordered them. He was watching TV and shaking his head. It was the same story Kraus had been watching.

Shawn suddenly jumped on the bar and started singing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey before getting slapped off the bar by a giggling Zoe.

Diane smiled and then groaned. "Damn it, I forgot my Calculus book at the clinic!" The young woman frowned and then looked at the clock. Cindy, washing a nearby table, said, "Go on, Doc should still be there. We can cover you for a little while." The blond smiled and Diane nodded, hurrying to the kitchen to grab her purse before heading out to her beat up Ford truck.


Diane arrived at the clinic almost half an hour later, having to go around a bunch of police barricades to get to her second work place. Diane got out and combed her auburn hair with her fingers before hurrying inside. She worked in the back and was puzzled to see the light on in the room across from her office. Doc's car was here, but so were several others. One belonged to her co-worker, Sherri. Maybe they had a meeting? Diane passed the bathroom and noticed everyone had stopped talking. She passed the bathroom and then screamed as the door opened and someone all but tackled her, tugging her arms behind her back, sweeping her legs out from under her, and slamming her against the tile face first.

Diane saw several people in boots come out and heard Doc say, "Let her go, Yuri. She's a friend."

Sherri helped Diane stand up and Yuri stalked past them. Sherri shook her head and then turned to Doc, who was examining Diane.

"Did I…interrupt?" Diane asked nervously, looking at the people who filed back into the room.

"Follow me, please," Doc lead her in the Map Room and gestured for Diane to sit down. Just as Diane sat down, a young brunet man entered carrying a piece of pizza.

"Hey, guys! Where's Trav?" The young man asked, finishing off his pizza.

"You son of a-" Jericho lunged at the newcomer, only to be grabbed by Yuri and thrown against the table like he was going to be arrested.

"Quincy. Please sit down. It would be in your best interests to be silent, and avoid Sherri and Jericho. You're partner was captured and I demand answers. At the moment, however…Diane? I have a request to make."

Diane looked at Doc in utter confusion, waiting for him to finish as Jericho growled and huffed, struggling against Yuri. Flynt had now joined Yuri in holding the British man in place. Doc cleared his throat and spoke again.

"Diane…how would you like to change the world?"