It was an absolutely normal day for the humans of Earth.
In the morning, the sun rose. Hundreds of millions of tiny people woke up, brushed their teeth, and ventured out into the world. Some ate breakfast, while others did not. Some walked to work, while others drove. A few were born, and a few died.
No impending apocalypse loomed in the near future. No powerful deities demanded to be worshipped by the masses. No massive alien spacecraft emerged in the skies above. The humans were free to go about their silly little lives, crying and kissing and breathing and laughing, with absolutely no knowledge of what threats lurked just beyond the veil. Their ignorance was their security, and their security was their ignorance.
And it was not by chance, but by design.
They, and many other planets like them, were under the protection of an agency that existed outside the constraints of time and space with power far beyond their comprehension. Agency FB was the only thing standing between Earth and the gods of old, countless alien governments (both ill- and well-intentioned), a thousand different doomsdays, a raccoon crime syndicate, time travel paradoxes, accidental immortality, sentient skeletons, flying pigs, zombie viruses, and every other conceivable threat to their ignorance. These agents were not just protectors of the veil.
They were the veil.
And somewhere, on the other side of the universe, the sovereign monarch of a world called Stahn was gathering intelligence about one very dynamic pair of those agents.
"You know the rules, Lun," the monarch drolled, leaning back in her throne and templing her fingers. "Report on your observations, and we will continue to allow your existence."
Eyes that were once alive narrowed as the hologram snarled in disgust. "You wouldn't kill me."
"Kill you?" the monarch repeated, raising an eyebrow. "A thing like you isn't killed. It's deleted at the push of a single button." She leaned forward. "Now report, before I do just that."
The projection glared before hanging her head in defeat. "Alright. Fine. Would you like to hear more about Agency FB itself?"
"Tell me what you've learned about the one who wears the watch."
The hologram closed her flickering eyes. "Much time has passed since Princet Tris escaped from Stahn. She has died many times, but thanks to her royal blood, she keeps reincarnating. She's now the tenth iteration of herself-they call her Tris10, or Tristan, in their human tongue."
The monarch sneered. "She wastes her lives among the primitives of Earth. Her responsibility was to her people."
"She has long forgotten that responsibility," Lun promised. "She grows more human with every reincarnation. Her eyes have changed from amber to a dull human blue, her hair from white to pale blonde. The points of her ears have rounded and she has started to develop one of their human 'genders.' She is even beginning to see in more colors than purple alone."
"Blasphemous!" cried the monarch, reeling in shock. "That one of royal blood may see shades of blue, or red, or orange…"
The slight was not lost on Lun, who had long ago been born seeing the world in shades of blue. "Chromophobic swine," she spat. "You're no royalty of mine."
"Watch your tongue unless you want it to taste the void," snapped the monarch. "Speak no more of Tris's disgusting transformations. I want to know about her role in the agency."
"She is considered a genius among the simple-minded humans," Lun enlightened with a slight roll of her eyes. "She develops technology that is extremely useful to her and her partner, but...faulty and experimental. Her inventions and concoctions often cause as much peril for the two of them as they are useful. Her behavior is as unpredictable and erratic as an Agent as it was here-maybe even more so-but her partner does well at keeping her in check. Together, they make up what might be the most effective, most dangerous weapon the agency has, even though they wreak a lot of havoc."
The monarch squinted. "Tell me more about this…'partner'."
"Agent Koba?" Lun inquired. "Very well. From my understanding, she's a human named Bella. She is also considered a genius, although where Tris specializes in the fields of chemistry and biology, Bella is driven by a passion for physics and theoretical science. She, too, devises gadgets that are just as haphazard as the former princet's, but she seems to prefer leaving most of the inventing to her Stahnian partner."
"Is there anything else of note about her?"
"Well…She's kind of...crazy."
"Not crazy in the same way as Tris," Lun was quick to add. "Her actions are much less self-serving and incalculable, as I understand. But there's a deep paranoia rooted in her, as well as a whole host of negative psychopathologies we developed cures for eons ago. She also shows symptoms of severe Time Dislocation Disorder: she refuses to touch doors whenever possible, she is prone to chronophobic rants and delusions, and her eyes change color sporadically."
"Time Dislocation Disorder?" the monarch repeated, arching a brow. "Can you confirm why she would be suffering from that?"
Lun shook her head. "I have no knowledge of how or why or even if she was relocated in time. And as the Agency exists outside of time, I am uncertain of how she could have possibly developed the disorder, as the other human agents seem to be fine."
"I see," murmured the monarch. "And you said she is capable of keeping Tris under control?"
The sentient hologram hesitated. "Well...in a way. Tris and Bella together make up a dysfunctional team that effectively serves the agenda of the agency, while simultaneously causing it a lot of trouble. Tris and Bella individually would be catastrophic harbingers of disaster." Pausing, she tilted her head in thought. "Tris is like sodium, a highly explosive element. Bella is like chlorine, a deadly poison. But when you add them together, what do you get?"
"Salt," mused the monarch. "I think I understand."
"Their partnership is critical to-" Without warning, Lun's projected body began to crackle with static. "-if they were-"
"What's happening!?" the monarch demanded, rising from her throne at once.
The chief technician turned to her, his eyes wide. "The transmission is being shut down. We think Tris is using the watch again."
"We weren't finished with the report!" protested the monarch in aggravation, pressing a hand to her temple. "Argh, Tris! Ruining my plans even from thousands of lightyears away!"
Seconds later, the image of Lun disintegrated completely, but not before she released a distorted, glitching laugh that left the monarch's ears ringing long after she was gone. The monarch shot one last scowl at the panel of technicians before turning and marching out of the transmission room.
"I have got to get myself a new spy."