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By Kay
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#9133
April 24th, 2012
7:55 a.m.
MI:5 Director Jones Office

Image

Loretta straightened out the lapel of her new black blazer. It was crisp, freshly ironed after being fetched out of her closet. It matched her black pants and went well over her pink blouse.

She was reporting to a new unit today, reassigned by her director, Agent Holmes. She'd never seen the paranormal division, as she'd just barely caught wind of its existence recently, but from what she'd read in the file she'd been given just three days ago, Loretta could hardly believe her eyes. Witches? Wizards? Werewolves? Anyone else would attach an 'Oh My' to the end of that sentence but she didn't. How the heck was any of this even possible? Was this just a tremendous waste of government funding and resources? Loretta hardly found herself in a position to argue with Holmes or anyone above him about this, but she did make it known that she didn't believe in any of this. Holmes said he'd handpicked her for this because of her convictions. She didn't know whether or not she was supposed to be flattered by that. She'd even argued, saying that her partner Zara Ramesh would have been a better fit. She claimed to 'see things' (to which Loretta learned to just smile and nod), so it was a matter of her blending into what seemed to be a team of young agents.

Still, she promised Zara to fill her in with what it was going to be like going undercover in this division. Loretta was sure she was going to stick out like a sore thumb due to her age and the tensions that may come of any surprise visits from Holmes, but she was a damn good field agent and had a mission to do.

The first of her objectives was to report to Director Jones, who was to receive correspondence delivered by Loretta's hand, directly to her desk and for her eyes only. Not her assistant, not anyone in the Hounds, not anyone. Just Jones. She checked her watch on her right wrist, the face reading two to eight. Holmes assured her that Jones would be there since he supposedly informed her of this somehow. Loretta didn't ask. Jones was known for her punctuality, even outside of the division.

Due to the sensitive nature of this delivery, Loretta hoped today wasn't an exception.
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By Morgan Jones
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#9251
Two to eight, right on time. Jones straightened the reports on her desk and finished the tea in her mug. No novelty messages graced the front of the ceramic. Just a simple blue and teal water color was all she needed. Jones stood and stretched her lower back, then unlocked her office door. Things were officially in business for the day. Some of her agents had worked overnight and were packing up to go home. Similarly, the techs were sending home their night shift in favor of the morning shift personnel.

Her early arrivers were trickling in; the unit cohesion was good. Most people were in their mid thirties. Not their first career, probably not their last. There were the young stars who were fresh out of university and the veterans who knew more about Mi:5 than she'd ever learn. And then there was a new face...Jones approached the newcomer.

"Hi there. Help you find something?"

Whomever this woman was, she had clearance to get into the floor that most didn't even know existed. Jones' curiosity was piqued.
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By Kay
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#9323
Image Loretta did her best to stand up straight when she saw the blond woman approach. She looked well-kept, and had the poise of the leader. This had to be Jones. "H-hi...Director Jones?" She smiled, trying not to force it. She didn't need anymore suspicion than she was sure to let off so all of the pleasantries need be present. "Loretta Patterson...May I have a word?"

She was hoping the Director would say yes. Everything about her visit today needed to be behind closed doors; No one was privy to this information except the two of them. Holmes was adamant about that. "In private." Her eyes flitted over to the office door, to move that suggestion along.
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By Morgan Jones
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#9354
The hesitant introduction gave way to a commanding request. Jones looked at the dark skinned woman again. Every instinct that she had as an agent was screaming at her, but nothing specific was coming with the warning. instead, Jones nodded, a guarded expression going up on her face.

"Certainly. Follow me."

Jones led the woman through the department, ignoring the questioning looks. Into her office she went, pulling the blinds and locking the door behind her guest.

"So how can I help you, Ms. Patterson?"

Jones slid into her chair and took a guarded stance as she sat, preparing for whatever it was this Loretta had to share.
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By Kay
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#9370
Image "Thank you. I appreciate your time, of course." Loretta had to note that the woman was quite a bit younger than her. She didn't have too much trouble reporting to higher-ranked individuals that were younger, it's just sometimes she forgot that her formal poise and decorum might seem a little pushy or overbearing.

Loretta waited until the Director was seated before taking her own seat in the guest chair in front of the desk. She faced her straight on and smiled. "Well, I'd like to apologize if this is a little off-putting, but please know that I am on orders to be discreet. I came here today to discuss my appointment here with your division. Director Holmes sent me here with this--" She fetched the folded envelope from her handbag and clasped it shut afterward. "To explain."

It was sealed, and said "Director Morgan Jones' eyes only". The document screamed 'Burn After Reading' to Loretta, but she was good about not being nosy with this one. She offered the envelope to the director and sat back, letting her read for herself.
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By Morgan Jones
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#9460
Holmes? Oh shit.

Jones didn't try to stop her bright and cheerful look from faltering into a look of disgust and mistrust. Holmes was Internal Affairs. That branch of 5 was there for one sole purpose: Policing their fellows and monitoring the inflow of funds and outflow of results. No director wanted a letter from Holmes, yet here she stood with just such a ticking time bomb.

Morgan opened the letter and read it quickly, absorbing the facts. It was their turn to be inspected, drug tested, blah blah blah, given the nature of their department, they will not have the full circus but rather an inside agent working alongside and investigating internally, please accommodate and include Loretta in the department's black ops goings-on...Seriously? Was this agent even ready for what the mission of the Paranormal division was all about?

Jones flicked her gaze from the letter to her newest 'agent' and raised a brow. "Do you know what we investigate here? Do you know what my hounds hunt?"
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By Kay
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#9479
Image "I was given a short dossier."
"I've heard rumors," is what she wanted to say, but she knew better than to state something like that, to her new 'boss'.
"Director Holmes briefed me on the basics, and said that I was to report to you immediately. I'm sure it won't be too difficult to adjust to the new department, right?" Loretta didn't ask too many questions when it came to Director Holmes. He was clear and concise with his direction and she obeyed. "But if you wouldn't mind showing me, I would greatly appreciate it, so I could settle in." She just hoped that Director Jones wasn't going to have any animosity toward her for doing her job. She also hoped Jones wouldn't have an issue having her speak so straightforward because that's what she was used to, that's how she functioned.

When she joined up with MI:5 she swore an oath, and her loyalty to the agency. When she became Internal Affairs, that didn't change. Zara, her partner, reminded her that she would be in for something wild, but Loretta had absolutely no idea what to expect.
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By Morgan Jones
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#9502
Jones sat back in her chair and crossed her right arm over her torso, bringing her left up perpendicular. Her fist nestled against her lips as she considered the woman from IA across from her. There were videos that she could show her, written reports, audio accounts...or Orion. The kid had just come back, begging for his job back yesterday.

Jones picked up her phone and dialed quickly.

"Send Orion into my office please. Thank you."

Jones resumed scrutinizing Loretta after hanging up the phone.

"We investigate the paranormal, here. Magic, wizards, witches...dragons, unicorns...the ridiculous, the unexplained...it's our job to explain it."

How would the IA handle that?
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By Kay
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#9594
Image Loretta had engaged in a staring contest with her 'new boss' apparently. Jones was hard to read, and she knew that was going to be something to overcome in her days working here. She knew that after signing her life away to Holmes for a job with this unit was going to be a challenge, and far be it for Loretta Patterson to pass up the chance to do something like this. Investigate a unit that seems to be a secret yet, the talk of the town, so to speak. What in the world did they do here, she wondered. Now she was calling someone else in?

But why? Loretta wasn't totally opposed to meeting someone else in close quarters, but she wasn't sure what Jones' play was here. Was this 'Orion' person going to show her around or something?

She shifted in her seat, tilting her head some before she chuckled and finally burst out into a laugh. But this was no laughing matter, she found. Loretta looked to the side before bringing her gaze back up to meet Jones' once more, and she was composed, almost embarrassed at laughing at her statement. "Oh, you're...serious?"
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By Orion Burgess
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#10423
Pagers were weird things. For one, they had no pages. For two, they were incessantly bossy. Jones had required Orion to carry one after he refused a cellular telephone. Nuisance devices, they were. Orion preferred the traditional owl or some enchanted note paper to annoying electronics. What was especially annoying was how the pager would buzz right as he was in the middle of something. The something at this point was experimenting with knitting. A former acquaintance of Orion's had managed to knit protection spells into hats and scarves. Now, Orion was trying to replicate the results with moderate success. He had a greyish blue lump of wool that resembled a scarf in the same way that a gecko resembled an alligator. If you squinted and had a good imagination, you could see the relationship.

BZZT BZZT
JONES OFFICE AQAP

Orion glanced at the message and grumbled.

"Yeah, yeah....as quick as possible, sure. I'm only trying to save lives here..."

The wizard ignored the surreptitious glances he got from the other agents as he gathered the mess of yarn, his wand, and the needles and went to the director's office. He knocked and opened the door, noting that there was an unfamiliar woman there.

"You wanted to see me director?"

"Yes. Orion, this is Loretta. She's a new agent with us...could you show her what it is that we investigate here?"


Orion evaluated the woman and entered the office fully, closed the door, and set his paraphernalia down on Jones' desk haphazardly.

"Hullo. Orion Burgess, resident wizard. Do you like cats?"
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By Kay
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#10430
Image A young man entered the room, presumably the 'Orion' fellow Jones had summoned a moment ago. And thank goodness too--because she wasn't sure she could stay in this little staring-match, or take the suspense any longer. He seemed polite, which was nice for someone his age, as Loretta knew a lot of the hoodlums near her nephew's flat were anything but polite. It was refreshing. When he turned to look at her, she smiled to acknowledge, only to be cut off by a look of surprise as he dumped the contents of his...knitting tools on Jones' desk. Knitting? Loretta arched a brow.

"Uh...Agent Loretta Patterson. Pleased to meet you, Orion." They exchanged pleasantries, and then he posed a question of whether or not she liked cats...now that caught her off guard. She cleared her throat and sat up straight, letting her gaze flit over to Director Jones before turning back to the young man. It seemed he'd posed a legitimate question since no one in the room so much as smiled or broke out into laughter. He was serious. "Erm...well, personally I prefer dogs. I have one at home, myself. But I guess I don't mind cats."

Truthfully, she did. They got hair everywhere, worse than her pup at home, and ruined many an outfit with their excretions, it made her sick. "Why's that?"
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By Orion Burgess
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#10433
Orion merely smiled in answer, then transformed. Where a moderately tall and wiry youth stood, an abnormally large, incredibly fluffy grey tabby sat instead. The smug looking cat had white toes and a white bib. The cat flicked it's ear, stood, then made the easy jump to Jones' desk before transforming back.

On reappearance, Orion was seated on the desk surface, still smiling.

"Magic is a very real occurrence, Agent Patterson. The grand art is practiced in secrecy by an entire subset of the world's population. We are a hidden society, mostly to keep safe from past persecutions, but also because of cultural misunderstandings."

Orion extracted his wand from his knitting project and flourished it, presenting Loretta with the ebony length of carved and pollished wood.

"I'm sure you have questions. I'm here to answer them as best I can."

He did his best to sound reassuring.
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By Kay
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#10456
Image Loretta was stunned and she softly sucked in a breath as she watched all of that unfold. She blinked a few times just to make sure she wasn't hallucinating, and she also wanted to pinch herself to make sure she was awake. But she was very awake, present in her new director's office, and staring at a young man who waltzed in, turned into a cat, and then turned back right before her eyes. What in the world... This didn't feel right, but if she bolted, Holmes would surely send her right back in and she'd hesitantly, and reluctantly comply, like an animal with a tail between its legs. Figuratively. Loretta sure as heck wasn't--whatever this boy was--so it was all metaphors and figurative speech in that regard.

"I, um.." She cleared her throat, shifted. Again. There was going to be a lot of that here, wasn't there? The uncomfortable lean, the cough, everything about this initial meeting was unsettling. "Yes. Questions..." But at the moment, nothing came to her because she was so shocked.

Loretta looked over at Jones, who was more than likely amused by her confused state, and then she turned to the boy. "You are an agent here? He's employed by the unit?" The question was more directed at Jones than Orion. All of this mythical, magical stuff was bringing up questions, sure, but they had to come back to her before she'd ask them.
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By Orion Burgess
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#10892
"Ish,"

Orion responded with the syllable as Jones confirmed that he as hired on as a contractor. The budget for contractors was more flexible than the full agent status. For people like himself and Schmidt who didn't want the full probing that came with the security clearances needed for being a badge-carrying agent, the contractor position allowed them to get the paycheck they wanted while they worked. They couldn't have the same responsibilities, but Orion didn't want that. He just wanted to be able to support his family and use his talents to make a positive difference in the world. For his part, Orion seemed to be a center of calm in the office.

"It can be a bit disorienting at first, learning about magic when all you've known is your muggle world. Consider me a liaison if you will...I'm here to help and to answer any questions you might have."

There. That explained his function, didn't it?
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By Kay
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#10933
Image "Ish", Loretta narrowed her eyes for just a moment at that. She hated that word, a suffix that implied a gray area when she really preferred everything to be laid out in black and white, one way or another, right or left--none of this in between bollocks. She arched an eyebrow at Jones, who confirmed this, and eventually nodded. Slowly. Even though contractors were fully legal in a hiring sense, Loretta made note that she'd have to look into this matter down the line. How legitimate were the agents on this team? How many contractors did Jones have in her employ?

"A bit disorienting?" She repeated, laughing softly under her breath. "To say the least." Loretta was in a strange place, one could even call 'Wonderland'. Oh, how she wished Zara was here in her stead, but there was no turning back now. Holmes put her here for a reason, so she'd have to follow the white rabbit. The Liaison. This...cat...person.

But he said something that was a little strange, a word she'd never heard before, to which she tilted her head in confusion. "Muggle? What is that?" Of course any nickname or unusual term would be taken as a slur or insult until it was proven otherwise, and she was now on the verge of being offended if he didn't answer right away.

As they left the room, Loretta gave one parting glance over her shoulder at the Director, before following the young man into the office for her tour. She'd have to make a lot of mental notes to jot down for her report for Director Holmes, and already she had plenty to say.
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