Scowling down at the files on his desk, Ames White studied the pictures spread out before him, pictures of the group of young X5s who had escaped in February of '09.  He recognized several of them from his latest tangle with 452.  It seemed as if they were all going to cause him trouble in the end. 

At the sound of a knock outside his door, he looked up to find Otto and motioned him to enter.  He watched as Otto lifted his head to glance around the room at the boxes of files that had just arrived, along with a grouchy reprimand from White's superiors.

"So, how was the beach?" White asked.

"Same old, same old," Otto replied.  "I hear I missed some excitement.  I chose a bad time to go on vacation."

"Well, you had no way of knowing it would happen."

"And we're sure he was the one that tipped them off?"

White nodded.  "And then he vanished after burning every file in this office," he finished calmly.  He'd had his temper tantrum a few days ago, when he'd returned from the failed attempt to capture 452 and the others to find the remains of every file in his office in a scattered heap of ashes just outside the window.  Though he was still angry, he'd managed to work off most of his temper that night.  "The problem is that no one has a clue where he's gone.  Turns out that the family he had in Peoria doesn't exist.  Our bosses don't have a clue where to look, either."  A fact that wasn't going to keep White from looking, himself.  He glanced back down at the files, his eyes catching on the image of 452.  If we'd known about you sooner, we would have taken care of you long before this, he silently promised the photograph.

"It's a good thing we had copies of all those files.  He only set us back a day or two."

White glanced up, a scowl crossing his features.  "A day or two that could mean life or death to innocent civilians out there."  Otto nodded, clearly silenced by his superior's sudden flare of temper.  He took a step backwards towards the door.

"I should be going.  I have a lot of files to catch up on."  He laid his hand on the doorknob.  White took a deep breath and let it out. 

"Otto, it's good to have you back," he said, his voice once more calm and controlled.

"Thank you, sir."

White watched as the door closed behind him, waited for a few moments to be sure that he wouldn't be interrupted, and then, glancing once more at the photos on his desk, he reached into his pocket and dialed a long distance number on his cell phone.  No one would answer, that he knew.  According to his sources, the person he was trying to reach was out of the country on a business trip, but his sources also said that he called back every few days to check his messages.  With a patience few had ever guessed he possessed, White listened as the phone continued to ring, smiling to himself as the message began.

Hey, this is Ian.  I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave me a message, I'll call you back as soon as I can.  You know the drill . . . Then came the sound of the answering machine's electronic beep.

"So it's Ian now, is it?" White began, not bothering to identify himself.  "You've made yourself rather hard to find over the last few years."  He paused, trying to leave a moment of silence on the tape in which the listener could identify his voice.  "The conclave has been looking for you.  They need you, we need you, and it's never too late to come back home.  The time is drawing near, and if you come back now, all will be forgiven.  Don't worry about finding us, we'll be in touch."

"Fe'nos tol," he said, and then he disconnected and returned the phone to his coat pocket.


Tada!  Well guys, I finally finished.  (It took me a little while didn't it?  Sorry about that . . .)

Well, what do you think?  And don't worry, there is another work in progress, so this is more of a "to be continued," I guess.  Right now, I'm just trying to find the right title and trying to sort some of it all out in my head, but I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with the next one . . .(grins evilly).

Well, don't just sit there, REVIEW!  You know how I love those reviews, and there's not going to be another chapter of this to review, so now's as good a time as any, right?  ; )