Founded in early 2009 following the vanishing of the wizarding world, this hush-hush group originally sought to find out what happened to avoid facing the same fate but now serves to research ways to safely defend themselves against the likes of magic should the need ever arise.
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by: Matthew Cox
June 5

Matt twisted as he ran, putting his already abused shoulder to the third story glass window and felt it explode out from under him. Behind him, he left Cole with a half-assed apology and the muffle sounds of explosions roaring through the building. As he fell, a rushing heat behind him told him that the explosions weren't confined; rather, the gouts of flame and smoke seemed to be consuming the third floor of the headquarters building. Matt fell, sensing below him that his luck was holding in the form of a taxi cab.

Please don't pull away!

He hit hard, bruising ribs as he dented the taxi's roof and rolled off. Matt hit the pavement running and sprinted for the Thames. It would be his only escape. No doubt that once things were settled up top, there would be teams hunting for him. A short fence kept passersby from crossing into the river. Matt vaulted it easily and arced into a clean swan dive. Once under the murky water, he was radar blind. Sound traveled faster in the dense water, so his radar was coming back muddled and compressed. It didn't matter. he was a veteran swimmer canoeist and could navigate by sound in the river if he had to. Theoretically.

He struck out with strong strokes deep under the surface of the water, headed down river. He could swim concealed like this for five minutes before he needed a breath. The trick was to cover as much ground during that time as possible. Once he surfaced, the smoke rising from Homeland Defense's headquarters was a smudge a half mile away. Matt couldn't see the smoke, but the wail of emergency vehicles was distant and tinny. At a more relaxed pace, Matt continued swimming until he found a series of drainage pipes. They smelled like sewage, but they'd suit his purposes. He approached cautiously and carefully pulled back the corner of the mesh that guarded the mouth of the pipe, then clambered inside and replaced the grating. From the outside, there was no visible evidence of his passing.

Mission of escape accomplished, Matt brought his knees to his chest and leaned against the wall of the pipe and fell asleep. Exhaustion dropped him quickly into somnolence, but adrenaline kept it a light sleep. If anyone approached, he'd hear them.
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by: Tristan Viridian
The explosions caused enough of a stir to distract the people with it, so they wouldn't notice when Tristan was on ground level, stalking after the Devil. Fire, police and emergency services had already been dispatched as more and more sirens were inbound.

He had watched him make his escape from the third story window, and rainfall of broken glass preceded his fall. At the distance he watched and eventually followed, Tristan could only confirm that the dark hair matched the same color of his old squad mate, and nothing more. He'd taken on a bigger frame than the man he remembered--though Matthew Cox still had a lean cut to his build before. Across the Thames and down into the dingy, disgusting depths of the sewers, they did go...

He'd been through worse. Tristan did serve some tours in some pretty terrible locales. He held his nose, though, which had been spoiled to things like fine dining and upscale hotels or perfumed lobbies like the one that lead to his penthouse. He hadn't been prepared to the smell of rot and despair, but he pushed through until he found a little nook, an inlet, where the Devil had stopped to rest. Tristan approached slowly. It was dark down here, but he refrained from pulling out a flashlight in case it disturbed him any. He could still see the silhouette of the man sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest, resting against the wall.

His boots might have given him away as he trudged through the pipe and was about five feet away when he finally stopped. He put his hands in his pockets, and rest his blue-green eyes on the man. It sure as hell looked to be a ghost from his past, come back to haunt him.
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by: Matthew Cox
What the hell? Viridian? Matt stared at the approaching apparition and tensed. His Tristan didn't wear a thick beard or designer clothes. He couldn't scent the man who looked so much like his squad mate thanks to the muck and rot of the sewer, but...damn, who else could look like Dorito?

There was a way to find out. Their ship challenge when standing watch would be information that only Tristan would know. Matt licked his lips and croaked the challenge. Dehydration turned his voice into a rasp, but the words were clear:

"Pennant L10..."

Matt sat, tense at the wizard's response. Yes, wizard. Matt's senses caught the shape of the wand in the man's pocket. Was Tristan a wizard?that barely made sense. Implausible. Was it? Matt hadn't been able to find him for decades. If he was a wizard, that made more sense.

It all came down to how the man responded to the challenge. Either they'd reunite, or Matt would have to kill the man.
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by: Tristan Viridian
Holy shit.

This was him. It had to be. No one else knew about their call and response since it was created specifically for their squad, and as far as he knew, the other guys were out in Boston, spread out in Europe, or on tour somewhere else to finish out their service. There was one that resembled Matthew Cox, except of course his brother Thomas, and even then he wouldn't have known to say that. Not to Tristan. He narrowed his eyes and brought himself to a crouch to level his eyes with his old brother-in arms and wondered why he wouldn't look at him. After a moment he just shook his head because he couldn't believe he was actually seeing the ghost of someone before him. In the flesh, even.

"Name says it all..." Even though he said the words, Tristan wasn't fully relaxed. He had a pocket knife on him and his wand in case there was some sort of scuffle to be had if he had this all pegged wrong. Merlin, what if this was some sort of mask? A spell to lure him out using the face of his dead brother? What sick and morbid trick and he was disgusted at the thought.

There had to be another test. Another verbal confirmation or something that would convince him, like a second way to verify this man's identity. "Jesus, brother. Haven't seen you in ages, and it's been what...years since my brother Chris' graduation?" If this was Matthew Cox, he'd know that Tristan was an only child. Growing up at least. No one was privy to the knowledge of his step-sister except a select few, but either way, he didn't have a brother named Chris. He picked it because Christophe was his uncle's name, but even that wasn't common knowledge.

Tristan linked his fingers and stayed crouched, and patiently waited for his friend's response.
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by: Matthew Cox
Who the fuck was Chris? Was this some sort of test to confirm he was himself? Had to be. Matt didn't lift his head, instead just sighing in relief that Tristan was Tristan.

"Dorito, the day you have a brother named Chris is the day blue pixies fly outta my ass."

Matt finally looked up, setting his chin on his knees. He waited for the sharp draw of breath in sympathy or pity. God don't let it be pity, Matt thought. Tris should know better than offer him that.

"What are you doing down here, Tristan? And why do you have a wand in your pocket?"

The best way to address the elephant in the room was to just shoot it, Matt believed. He didn't shift his curled up position, gave no indication of threat, and had no heat in his question. He just wanted the query out in the open and, in turn, open the door for the question Tristan was probably asking himself: What happened to you since we last saw each other?

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