Chapter One

Myka counted, slowly and expectantly in her head, as the board room of agents filed out of the meeting. Three – two – one, and the hushed tittering floated back to meet her. It wasn't that they were laughing at her – they had respect for her intelligence if nothing else – but they were definitely discussing her in less than fond terms. It was hardly new, Myka knew that she was odd, that she unnerved them. It was something she had grown accustomed to early in life, but still there was a part of her that cringed every time she heard those tell-tale whispers.

All in all, Myka was glad that the meeting itself had gone well and that her objectives had been met. All points covered; check. A team fully informed of the risks and potential dangers of the mission; check. A well balanced plan employed; check. A now peacefully empty and quiet board room….

"Well, Agent Bering, that was a very informative briefing."

Lattimer. The only agent left in the room. The only agent EVER left in the room. Agent Lattimer - Pete - was the leader of the team she had just briefed, but more that that he was the only co-worker she actually had a relationship with. He was her friend, one of the few genuine ones she had. But that didn't stop her from glaring at him as he lounged around the room, one foot propped up on the brushed silver, standard issue Secret Service table. One does not put their feet upon a Secret Service table.

She squinted at him. "But?"

Pete shook his head vigorously, but unconvincingly. "No but, there's no but. I'm completely butless."

"Pete," she said flatly.

Pete jumped up from where he was lounging and started gathering her graphs and charts, securing them under his arm as he lead her back to her office. "However – which, by the way, is totally different than a but – you just... it really needed something."

"It was very comprehensive." Myka said, shortly.

"Yeah, Mykes, I know," he interrupted. "No one could doubt your information, but it needs some pizzazz."

She gave him a doubtful look as she swiped her ID card for access to her office. "Pizzazz?"

Pete dumped the charts in a messy pile on her pristine desk, prompting a pained expression from his friend before she descended upon them to straighten them.

"Yeah, you know," he explained, his hands rising into an enthusiastic rendition of jazz hands. "Just a little excitement."

"I'm not here to entertain them, Pete," she said shortly. "I'm here to keep them from getting themselves killed."

"Is there some kind of rule that says you can't do both?" he asked.

Myka dropped the final chart on the pile with more force than was necessary – which did little damage as there was nothing on her desk to topple over anyways.

Pete rose his hands in a defensive gesture. "Hey, I'm just saying. I mean don't get me wrong, the charts are great – I love charts. But I just think you'd find things a lot easier around here if you loosened up a bit. Let people around here see the fun Myka every once in a while."

Myka pouted (though Pete knew she'd hurt him if he pointed it out), "I've tried. I gave the checkpoints colour names."

"Yes, and while that was a good start, I don't think that referring to Agents Smith and Furze as 'magenta' are winning you any brownie points." Well that explained the funny looks they had been giving her.

And with that Pete left, leaving Myka alone with nothing but her thoughts and his words rolling around in her head.