September 27th

Jane shivered slightly as the cool wind whipped around her exposed shoulders.

The sleeveless training top wouldn’t have been the best choice, given the weather, but she barely felt the cold. A quick choice in her HUD would have allowed her to ignore it altogether, but she enjoyed the crisp feeling across her skin.

It was a short jump, but she hesitated every time.

She paced a short path, checking last minute emails, not wanting to be disrupted. Finally, she signed with relief at her empty message tray, released her hair from its bun, and let the wind do as it pleased, whipping it in a hundred different directions.

A lot of agents paid lip service to claiming a city as their own – they acknowledged it as their home, their duty, but never felt the connection deeply enough to feel truly part of it. London was hers. She knew it as well as the back of her hands. As well as the slight wrinkles around Claudia’s eyes.

She knew the best paths to run, the shortest routes to cut off an escape, the best places to eat, the quiet spots that no human ever saw, and the miles of gorgeous tunnels underneath the streets. London above, The London beneath and the London that reached for the sky, it was all hers.

Jane stepped forward, and launched herself into the air.

Her body arched perfectly – and she twisted into the dive towards the dark water.

She closed her eyes for a brief second, enjoying the feel of flight and total control.

Jane opened her eyes, saw her broken reflection in the water, and shifted as soon as her outstretched fingers touched the surface of the Themes.

She reintegrated in her office, and she leaned against the window wall, allowing her heart to slow back to normal before opening them again.

‘Good evening, Agent,’

She opened her eyes. ‘Enforcer Crawford, good evening yourself.’ She stepped forward and embraced the man lightly. ‘How are you?’

Crawford waved a slim blue file. ‘I wish this was under better circumstances. It’s not. It’s a voluntary assignment, so it’s up to you if you take it or not.’

She required her hair back into its normal bun, refreshed her skin to clear the sweat and adrenaline, then required her suit back – black fabric sliding over black skin. She held onto the rush of the dive, not wanting to let go so quickly, but walked forward, and gestured to the couch and table in the guest area of her office.

‘Do you want to tell me what this is about before I get bogged in the paperwork?’ she asked as she poured herself a tall glass water.

‘It concerns our favourite Dusker.’

Jane put the glass carefully back on the table. ‘Ryan’s Rhys DNA is finally starting to show? Took him long enough, don’t you think?’

‘I don’t know what’s happened – not precisely anyway, you know the first report never covers all of the facts.’ Crawford flipped the folder open. ‘It came into Taylor’s Aide. Accusation of gross negligence leading to the death of an unqualified recruit. I’d like you to do the peer review.’

‘Ryan’s fifty years my junior, I’m hardly his peer.’

‘It’s Ryan, I did promise Reynolds I’d keep an eye on him…and this is the first time there’s been such a serious complaint.’

‘That I understand, why you’re throwing it in my lap, I don’t.’

‘It’s because I trust you to be fair, Jane. I can trust other people to be kind, or cruel, or willing to look the other way. With him, if nothing else, I expect I’ll get a true view of what’s going on in that Agency.’

Jane extended a hand, and Crawford passed her the file. ‘All right,’ she said. ‘Tell me more.’

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