Friday, December 30, 2016

Recruitment #15 : Lacuna

04/08/2015
Recruitment #15
Lacuna, Part I. The Birth of Mystery and the Girl from Blue City

The agents in the mission are the following:

Agent Singer, played by Jose 
Endurance : Caller : Armed (Sub machine gun) : Meditation

Agent Fisher, played by Jonas 
Endurance : Driver : Documents : Safe-House : Contact (Kira)
Caller : Meditation

Agent Dexter, played by Alfred 
Meditation : Spy : Writer : Judge : Caller

Agent Page, played by DJ 
Training : Caller : Armed : Meditation : Credit (Through Snyder) 

The reception room looks different than the previous one.  The room appears to be under renovation.  Wires jut out from areas.  The windows are covered with newspaper.  The floor itself does not have tiles, and is mostly cement. Some parts have lines drawn to suggest where tiling should stop.  The receptionist however is the same woman as before.  She seems to be quietly checking the computer as the others start to come to and realize they are in the room.   She smiles upon seeing they are all awake and she greets Agent Singer for being back with them. She commends him for his previous missions and shares that Agent Duke is happy with his performance.  There is mention that he has been in the Blue City more often than the rest of them in the room.

The Company is very happy with how the threat of the Hostile Personality Jigsaw has finally been rehabilitated.  The group begins with more Commendation than expected.  The receptionist's clothing seems to be predominantly cut from circular patterns.  She also has very curly brunette hair.  She shares how reception is now held in the Blue City as the company seen it fit to start here already to save on time.  Mission Briefings are now given during the Reception process in order to better facilitate meeting the goals.  Agent Fisher recommends Agent Singer to be the Team Leader, but Singer declines.  Fisher wonders if they should do a coin flip, but a brief moment of static seems to run through the lights.

Mission:
1) Locate Personalities: Watts and Perls, located somewhere on the First Train.
2) Receive/Retrieve the Aleph.  It is not to fall to any other hands.
3) Safely arrive at Station G.
4) Hand over Aleph to Senior Agent Baxter.  Distinction: She was head of operations when Agent Miner went AWOL. Not found guilty of misconduct, clearance level Blue, and is female.  African-American descent and has a pearl earring on her left ear.

Fisher tries asking for equipment but Reception reminds him that they will have to do so on their own.  The room is only clearance level Green.  She admits she cannot do anything beyond giving the mission parameters.  The rogue agents Miner, Kira and Draper however have raised the alert level of the mission.  She suggests they begin at the Train Station.  Fisher assures the team he will handle getting them there.  Singer asks Reception for her name, but she just tells him she is Reception.

There are things posted in the area around the door, but she pays them no heed.  She offers to them the option to step out now and proceed with the mission. "See you in three hours," they tell Reception. "We will see you in two hours and forty-three minutes."

Fisher calls Control as they step out, immediately asking for information and equipment.  Control confirms his role as Team Leader and confirms Reciprocity is in effect.  He asks what is the Aleph.  Control confirms he has Deep Blue Clearance but warns him that other members of the team do not have that clearance.  Aleph is an important document that must be reclaimed from certain personalities.  It has been known to attract the presence of... something redacted.  More so when it is present within ten to fifteen minutes. It is not to be harmed nor communicated with in any manner.   He requests for three handguns and a sedan.  The three handguns are requisitioned and are now present at the mailbox south of his location. The request for a vehicle is granted, and a pair of keys are in the driver's pocket.  The vehicle should be in the vicinity.  Fisher does not recall having the keys earlier.  The others look around, scanning the streetlights, nearby buildings, and the many parked cars. There are billboards lit up on the rooftops.  The readers can read the flashing two words.  A train is above, with the railway above it.  Not too far away, a woman stands on the street, waiting for a cab.  Other than her fantastic legs, she has a tattoo in her inner thigh, but its too far to see right now. She hails down each car that passes, but none have stopped for her.  A truck is approaching.  The woman has a small hat at the back of her head, with has a small veil that covers her face.  Her hair is barely visible.  Caucasian.

Dexter admits he thinks he knows her.Page chooses to stand guard while Singer follows him.    As Fisher ends the call, he looks up to see the others headed for the woman.  He scans the area for a mailbox, wanting to get the others the guns.   Dexter grabs the woman by the arm gently and looks at her fuzzy out of focus face.  He shakes his head, apologizing and admitting he mistook her as someone else.  The truck rumbles past the others, stops and on its back, a black sedan.  Fisher sees the mailbox further down.  Page focuses on the driver and sees it is a five-foot seven figure in overalls.  He has a frog's head.  Dexter whispers that the place where they are is not what it seems.  He can read the words "Go Back" appearing on the walls. On the billboard.  He thinks its a warning.  The frog asks for the papers, and Fisher pulls out the necessary documents.

The faceless woman walks up to them, asking if she can get a ride.  Fisher says there's no room.  She mentions she's late for the Opera and Kira is playing tonight.  Fisher pulls the others close for a huddle while the Frog brings the sedan down from the trailer.  Fisher asks the others if they know Kira, and they admit they do.  Page is concerned about pulling their weapons while with a passenger.  Dexter reminds them the rogue agents are on high alert.  Going there might stir up things. Fisher agrees they can learn more about Kira later. "Let's not arouse suspicion with the company."  They tell the woman they're full up, and she walks away.   Frog asks if they're Mystery Agents, but they get in the car without replying.  They drive off.

A sharp high pitched tone hits Singer's head, and his nose begins to bleed.  Fisher tells the other to grab the weapons and go back to the car.  When they don't respond, probably due to panic, Fisher rushes to grab them himself.  Singer stands up and watches Fisher curry to the mailbox.   Page focuses on watching the rear, and sees a parked van further down the road.  Black in color. Slight hints of movement. Fisher finds a mobile phone instead inside the mailbox on his first attempt to dig in.  Page notices a red dot somewhere inside the windshield.  He tells the others quickly there's a possible contact, "Van!"  A shattering sound erupts as Fisher hears the muffled ping hit the mailbox.  He feels the guns in his hand and grabs it.  Dexter tries to find the source of the warning shot as he asks for the gun.  Singer stays low, ducking for cover.  Fisher starts running for the car.  Shots are exchanged.  A shot hits the driver's door as Fisher ducks into the driver's seat.  Dexter and Page opens fire at the van to force the attackers down.  As the sedan's engine roars into action, a Call reaches Agent Page. The Caller turns claims to be Senior Agent Miner, and he tells Page he needs his help. The caller admits he cannot verify his identity.  Dexter asks who Page is talking to.  Page ignores him, however, and using his Judge skill, asks if the Caller is who he claims to be.  "Absofuckinglutely."  Page confirms it to be true.  Skidding into the first corner, they have a better view of the van.  Dexter aims for the driver and fires.  The Caller asks where Page and the others will be so he can intercept the Aleph.   Blood splatters against the windshield, then out as the glass shatters.

Fisher explains to Page the stuff he's found in the mailbox, and he tosses Dexter the phone.  Dexter looks at the phone and types in a reply: Trains.  Page doesn't explain further who called him.  They drive off, leaving the van now, and make their way to the Train station. Singer asks someone to handle navigation as he feels his heart starting to pound against his chest.  While driving, Dexter inspects the phone and its a basic smart phone. Nothing in the directory and the like.  Fisher asks for it back. Dexter tells them he saw the board earlier saying, "Got Your Back..." but then it changed into, "Go back!"  Now the other signs are telling the same thing.  Singer admits he seems to recall dying.  He doesn't think he's supposed to be here. Fisher asks Singer if he knows Kira.  "Don't Call and Drive, even in the Blue City."  Fisher admits Kira might be their only lead with the rogue agents, and asks Singer to ask her how they can get out of this place permanently.  Dexter shares his faint recollections of the same lady, with a tattoo, who they had shot in the face.  That woman was disguised as Kira as well.  Fisher clarifies the Kira they know might have the same tattoo, but it might just be a well designed Cover.    Singer tries Calling Kira.  She responds, a bit surprised to hear from him.  Singer shares that Fisher is calling in a favor and that they're headed for the train station.  He asks her to meet them there.  She tests Singer first, asking what she was wearing when they met, and he confirms it was Yellow, not Red.  He also confirms they were at the Kitchen in the Zoo and when she scolds him for being back after they had ejected him, he admits he just woke up again in Reception.  Kira, however, tells them no one has been in Reception.  She's been monitoring the place all day.  She warns them there are too many Hostile Personalities in the Train Station.  They map out a place outside the Train Station and they will meet in ten minutes.

Dexter sees more billboards along the route.  The text once again changes into, "Go back" despite the posters being ads for clothing and the like.  The place feels darker.  More oppressive.  Dexter wonders if they should Eject.  "I have a very bad feeling about this."  Even the streets seem more populated than before.   Fisher has Singer call Kira again, admitting he suspects they may be in Deep Blue. Page remains alert, keeping watch of anything suspicious outside the car.  

The call to Kira has her admit she cannot track them right now, since she is mobile.  Singer admits its kind of weird that there are a lot more people out.  Kira however thinks it might just be the Blue City - there are times there seem to be more around on certain nights - but at least they haven't seen anything weird yet.  Like spiders.  "If you do meet Spiders, stick to headshots.  Don't get too close. They are not human."  Page can hear a muffled beating sound.  He risks sticking his head out a window to check and hears the sound stronger.  Looking up, he sees the open sky and a black shape following the car.  A silent helicopter.  Page warns the others that they may be being followed.

Enjoy. Embrace. Bliss.    The group sees the massive signboard ahead with these three words.  To their surprise, they can ALL read it.   Suddenly, a powerful feeling hits and deep down, they feel the urge to stop the car, walk up to the billboard and... something.  A feeling they all want. A feeling they miss.  But one they have no idea where it is coming from.

Knowing Kira is about a minute away from their destination, Singer turns the sedan to find the nearest building to the station.  Page reminds them to find a parking area that has a ceiling or roof.  One is a covered parking area, and the second option is a low bridge.  Singer turns the car to the covered parking area instead.  The man at the entrance gives them a ticket, after writing on it.  The ticket comes out and hands it to them.  Singer passes the note immediately to Dexter, who confirms the contents are just the parking notes.  They call Kira, confirming they're at the Parking Lot of the Trainstation and warns her they are being followed.  They are in a black sedan.  Kira confirms she is close and she can see the bird in the sky.  She's waiting for a crowd.  "I'll find you."  Fisher changes the plan and tells Kira to meet at the Train Station again.  But Kira thinks the helicopter is from the Company, and they might just be monitoring the group. Dexter offers to shift into a Disguise to meet Kira. Page glances around, and thankfully everything is still clear.  But Kira no longer responds.  A group is now crossing the street.  Girl scouts.  

Page watches the Scouts walk past the parking lot.  Dexter looks for any black women in the area, and he sees one at the entrance at the Train Station with two people, remembering Kira's old disguise.  Page reminds them to hurry. Singer admits this feels unusual for Kira as she usually just appears out of nowhere. As the Scouts walk past the Train Station, one separates and approaches the parking lot.  Page watches the girl as she offers a box to the parking attendant, then walks away from him after he buys a box.  Fisher calls out to her, asking if she needs a smoke.  She turns towards them and approaches.  Singer stands outside.  Dexter notes the black woman has an earring only on the left ear.  He tells them Baxter is waiting by the Station.   The Girl Scout offers them cookies and when they accept the box, they note the cookies in the box seem odd.  Dexter looks in and reads the pattern made by the chips: Kira.

 A metallic sound catches their attention.  They look at the Train Station and a massive sculpture is being dragged out. It is made of various metal pieces, of hands reaching for the sky.  The shadows cast by the hands fall upon the group, criss crossing lines, like a net.  Singer asks if the Girl Scout is Kira, and she smiles, sitting along them in the back seat.  Dropping her Cover, she admits this isn't Deep Blue and Dexter reminds them Baxter is waiting for them.  She admits having not met Page yet, who tells her he's knew.  He gives his name, and she Calls him to confirm his identity.  He hears her voice, confirming it. She tells Singer she owes him for that save.  She asks Fisher why he keeps coming back here.  They ask her of the Aleph and she admits Miner wants to get a hold of it.  They think it has something to do with what they call Bliss. They aren't sure if it would be safe to give it to the Company right now. Miner's suspicions are it is a person. Fisher admits they need to give the Aleph to the Company or they might suspect they have gone rogue. She asks about Draper, and he admits he's no longer with them.  Singer asks about Watts and Pearls, and Kira admits she has never heard of them either.  She thinks they're Hostile Personalities. Dexter shares his sightings of "Go Back" and Kira asks if he's also noticed the mentions of Bliss. No one remembers what it is, but they all remember desiring it... wanting it...  Sadly, none of them remember anything about it.  Fisher suggests they push through with the Mission and determine what to do with the Aleph when they get it.  With an hour and a half left, they realize they best meet Watts and Pearls before time runs out. Learn what they can and report back once possible. She then asks Page, who is new to the group, whose side he is on.  Kira shares that they're all being recycled.  When the Company first started, the Lacuna devices were being used to rehabilitate Hostile Personalities.  Whenever they were captured, they would be ejected out using the Lacuna devices.  The same way any of them would Eject after a Mission. "Miner suspects we have all most likely once were Hostile Personalities." And this brings the question who they are and why does the Blue City exist.  Miner noticed since the shift in the hierarchy in the Company, with many of the ones who "died" were from the other side of the Operations. They think Snyder is part of the coup. Page asks what their goal would be. Kira admits they think they're trying to make the Blue City safe.  Whatever the Company used to be, Snyder might have taken over. Kira thinks the Spidermen might be the missing element. Dexter admits he found one of the Spidermen's guns before and he realized humans would have a hard time using them. They think the Spiders use human bodies like Cover, to move about them unnoticed. Headshots incapacitate them for a few seconds, forcing them to tear out and attack. They have always resorted to running upon seeing them. The Safehouses are safe from Spiders but not from Agents of the Company. The Garden has been infiltrated many times, but they still use it to fool the Company into thinking they don't know.   A call arrives, for Agent Fisher.  Baxter Calls to ask where he is.  As the group sees him talking, Kira touches his face and reaches her hand out to the others.  Taking it, they realize they can hear the call as well now. Fisher admits they're outside and Baxter scolds him that they are late.  The train is leaving in ten minutes. Ending the call, Fisher is surprised to see them all already ready to go for the train.  Page asks who the other HPs in the station are working for. Kira admits they're only known as HPs based on the fact they're recurring faces and have constant personalities. Page muses they'd probably identify the Aleph once they notice the presence of a lot of HPs. Kira shares one last thing: they can't contact Mason. Too much Static. She tells them she will wait in the car.  Fisher brings the keys with him.

They hurry and cross the street. Page does not see the copter anymore.  They approach and see Baxter, dressed now as a security guard.  Dexter looks around for anyone who might be Pearl and Watts.  Baxter tells them they should hurry or they'll lose their train.  They identify the train they should head to. The four hurry down the hallway, moving to the platform where they want to get to.  Fisher notes they have barely seven minutes left.  He reassures the group he can use Documents for the tickets.  Page scans the area for suspicious individuals and notes while most of the people are blurry, there are people who are dressed finely in semi-formal garb, all wearing animal masks.  Singer checks the masks and notes what they are: A White Tiger. A Wolf.  And another type of cat, but not sure what kind.  Singer reminds them to be wary of the cat. Page notes none of them have their hands exposed, they may have their hands on weapons hidden in pockets/inside their jackets.  The three are in different locations though.  Dexter suspects they might be protecting the wolf, given the two others are cats.  Maybe he or she is the target in the Mission.  Page suggests they wait for the last moment to see who will ride where.

The call comes, for the last five minutes to board the plane.  The three now make their way to the same platform they are at.  Steam rises from the wheels of the train.  Blurry faced people begin boarding the train.  Even the crew have faceless featureless faces.  Singer allows the three masked figures to go in first. Page looks for anyone with a clear face but finds none.   Singer notes the three stop instead of going in, as if waiting.  Dexter decides to walk past the three, then finds an available seat in the train.  The others note the masked figures watch Dexter as he goes in.  "Last four minutes.."   The two cats nod.  The Wolf starts going in.  Inside the train, Dexter realizes it isn't the usual open seating train.  There are booths.  He moves ahead to find any empty booth in this car, or the next one.  He finds the first available one and steps inside.   Page is unnerved by the faceless conductors.  The group walks past the two cats in the suits and board the train.  They see the booths. Singer asks the attendant for a booth, and the attendant tells him to take any one he prefers, "This is Train Number One. Invitation only." Fisher follows the Wolf and realizes they are heading to the next car.  He fingers his gun, sliding a finger into place.  Dexter slides out of the booth to follow Fisher.  Singer moves to the door, but waits for the last call to close the door before the Cats board.  The two cats look up surprised as the door doesn't open in front of them. Singer fakes miming he's trying to unlock the door he "accidentally" locked. The Cats look at him angrily as the train begins to move, leaving them behind.  One of the two cocks his head, seemingly in a Call.  The train leaves them behind.  Singer tries to follow the others.

In the next car, Fisher and Dexter follow the Wolf.  Dexter moves faster, walking past Fisher, then the Wolf, and continues walking further ahead.  Page slides into the room as well, peering at the nearby booths for anything out of place, like people in suits.  Or a person with a face.  Finding an empty booth ahead, Dexter slides the door open and sits inside.  A door opens, revealing two men in semi-long shirts and bowties. Their faces are fuzzy.  Between them, a young girl in a blue dress is being escorted.  A sharp stabbing pain suddenly hits the brain of the Mystery Agents who can see the girl.  Some of them begin to feel faint from the pain.  Page seeing the effects on the others, he looks at the faceless guys and sees no reaction coming from them.  Singer stumbles into the closest booth, and the two personalities in the booth ask if he needs help.  He claims it is just a nosebleed.  The older personality asks him to "Have some Bliss," insisting it will make the pain go away.  They are quite insistent. Page slips back into the earlier car, worried about Singer.

Fisher walks up to the Wolf man, addressing him directly and asking if he's been to the Zoo lately.  Dexter, in the other booth, keeps the door open enough to overhear the conversation. The Wolf tells him to stand aside.  Dexter notes the Wolf has drawn a hand into his suit, and the head of an axe can be seen peering from inside his jacket.  Dexter fires a shot at the arm holding the axe, hoping to disarm the man.  The elbow explodes into red, cloth and wood.  Fisher plants a foot down on the axe head, and he pulls out his Document as it it were a badge, and demands the Wolf explain who he is.  To his surprise, the Wolf growls, "Mystery Agent.." Dexter hurries out of the booth, and grabs the Wolf up from the ground, and the two drag Wolf into the empty booth.  As the door closes, all the other booth doors open, as the other passengers wonder what just happened.

Singer sees the two faceless guys continue to escort the girl in blue down the car.  Page sees this too, and he slides into the car and he walks towards the nearest booth. Singer notices the young girl's eyes are focused on him, and she seems to be speaking without words.  Singer feels another stabbing pain hit is head.  He slams against the wall and something clicks in his brain.  He suddenly is a Writer.  As the lights flicker when the train moves past some things. Singer begins to notice the flickering is actually in morse code! H - E - L - P - M - E - H - E - L - P - M - E...  He struggles up to his feet, but when tries to draw his pistol to help.... the car is empty.  He doesn't realize five minutes had passed!

Five minutes ago, Page sees Singer suddenly shove himself against the far wall, then fall unconscious.   He slides open a booth he thought was empty, but realizes there is someone inside.  He continues instead down the path, ignoring the booth after closing the door.  As he opens the door he sees all the people in this car, asking about what just happened. He continues walking forward, and he stares at the glass reflection to look behind him.  He sees the two men and the child go to the booth he approached earlier and go inside.  Page stops, he realizes it might be best to find the others.  He notices one booth where no one has a head out, and approaches it. He sees Dexter and Fisher there.  Dexter keeps the Wolf held down. Fisher has the axe in his hand.  Fisher asks the Wolf to admit who he is. The Wolf snarls they and their company shouldn't even be here. Fisher tells Dexter to choke the Wolf. Page slides in to see the Wolf gasping for breath. Page tells them Singer is in trouble. The Wolf slumps to the ground after his neck is snapped.  Dexter checks the body for anything and he finds a Lacuna device that has been jury-rigged in some way.  He pockets it without the other noticing. Page quickly reports what he saw, and admits he saw a girl that had a face. Fisher wonders if she's the target. Dexter sets the dead Wolf against the window, as if he was asleep. Dexter offers to wear a disguise. Page points out to them where the others would be. Page hates the fact he can't recall what the person inside the booth looks like.  He thinks it was blurry. Page offers to check the rest of the train, reminding them they haven't checked the front of the train.  Fisher gives Page approval to do it. Page worries if Fisher won't have someone to cover him. Page heads forward to check the train.  Dexter and Fisher head for the rear.

Singer quietly walks down the train, looking into booths for the Girl. As he approaches the third booth, he notices his reflection on the glass and there's blood all over his face.  He tries to wipe himself clean.  The adjoining door slides open as Fisher and Dexter arrive.  Seeing the booth with the Blue Girl, Singer draws his machine gun, hoping to fire at a swinging motion to hit everyone who is taller than the girl.  The bullets fly, tearing through the metal and shattering the glass.  The two are downed, with bloody splatters all around the walls.  The third, a red stain against the window.  The Girl stares at Singer, still pristine and Blue.  Singer rushes inside to grab her. He pulls out his Lacuna device.  Fisher confirms Singer got the girl and asks the Girl for her name.  She looks at them but her mouth opens and words do not come out.  Both Fisher and Dexter feel their heads explode from within.  From the blood that sprays out of Fisher's nose, the blood almost twists midair for a split second to become: Help Me.  Fisher admits she still isn't sure if the Girl is the Target. Singer admits he wants to bring her to Kira and he activates the Lacuna device.  A black pit appears, and the Girl suddenly shrieks so loud the glass shatters in all the nearby booths.  Her words are, "Don't! When Three Becomes Two... and Two Becomes One..."  And then, Singer is gone.  So is the Girl.

Page continues forward, moving to the next car, when a heat wave feeling reaches him.  He instinctively covers his face as glass shatters all around him. In front of him, the long corridor is suddenly filled with more faceless crying and fearful. A man with a Rabbit's face emerges from the other end of the corridor.  Page sees the Rabbit but it does not seem to notice Page is a Mystery Agent. Staying low, Page gets the bearing of his surroundings while watching the Rabbit.  The Rabbit is suddenly in front of Page, covering the distance quite.... impossibly, and it asks if Page is alright. He offers to check Page's wounds on his face. Page feigns shaking in panic as he realizes the Rabbit does not know he's not one of the Personalities. The Rabbit mutters, "Mystery Agents," in reference to the explosion, "This is not good," then to Page, "Stay down, Citizen. We will keep you safe."  And suddenly, the Rabbit is gone.  The door to the next car is already closing.

Fisher Calls Singer, asking where he is now, but there is no response. The sound of the door sliding open alert's Dexter to look if the man has a weapon. He sees the Rabbit headed guy in a suit the same time he hears Page Calling him about a Rabbit-headed Contact! The Rabbit's eyes widen upon seeing Fisher and Dexter.  Dexter fires, not hesitating, and the perfect shot actually misses! Dexter notes however he did not hit anything at the opposite side of the room.  Fisher calls Page to tell him Dexter shot the Rabbit. Page can see the Rabbit against a far wall, checking a wound.  "You grazed him," Page laments.  Fisher recommends Page move closer but Dexter admits it might not be best to engage. Dexter asks Fisher to cover him. Dexter steps out, firing shots that the Rabbit begins to dodge.  Fisher tells Page information on the Rabbit's position, to guide them to hit the target. Page realizes if they keep the Rabbit busy, he can snipe the bastard. Fisher ties to badger the Rabbit to talk, asking who he is and what he wants.  The Rabbit tells them they're not supposed to be here, as this is their city.  He says the Mystery Agents have been infiltrating the city far too...  Page sees the perfect moment and takes the shot. The Rabbit falls to the ground, the mask falling off to reveal a human face.  Dexter and Fisher close in to check the "Rabbit"'s body. Page stays in the distance to keep cover.  The man looks familiar.  Dexter sort of recalls the man is Agent Tiller. Of a man slipping from the helicopter, then the man grabbing his hand, and the two yelling at each other not to let go.  Dexter can't believe its Tiller. He drops to his knees and searches for any identification. He finds Tiller's Lacuna device and slides it into his hand.  Fisher asks if he recognized the man, but Dexter can only stare blankly. Fisher notices what Dexter did, and asks what he just tried to hide. Dexter admits it is beyond Fisher's clearance. Fisher asks who gave the Mission, and Dexter admits Miner gave it.  Fisher admits if it was from Miner, then he will trust him.

Nothing else has happened. Page watches in fascination as the blanks, these faceless people, seem to have totally forgotten what just happened.  They're now all just seated, despite the broken glass, talking to each other, laughing, or keeping themselves busy.   Then in an eyeblink, the glass is fixed. The booths show no damage. Page walks up to the others and tells them they have to finish whatever they came to do and get out. Fisher admits they have no leads. He even wonders if this was a trap. Page asks if the Girl was Aleph. Fisher thinks she may have been, but its hard to know for certain. He offers what happened in a previous mission and admits they cannot tell for certain.  They are but all pawns working to help solve a larger puzzle.

*

Elsewhere.  Agent Singer opens his eyes and finds the Girl pulling away from him.  There is soft jazzy music in the background.  He hears the roaring sound of people applauding.  He looks up to see a studio audience, with hundreds of people watching.  All of them are beautifully dressed, wearing paper mache masks of animal heads. Unlike the masks he had seen in the Zoo, which resembled actual animal heads, here they were clearly craftwork, with black string to hold them up against their faces. Singer cannot feel the weight of the Lacuna device on his shirt. He can feel the weight of his gun however on his side.

A man in a white suit, which looks red and black due to the lights, addresses the audience.  Singer notices everyone is completely in white clothing and masks.  Even the walls and chairs are white.  The lights shift the colors they seem to be in.  As the Girl in Blue runs, she trips and hits the floor. She sobs. The host walks past her and stops in front of Singer.  He asks, "Well, we have Agent Singer with us today. Would you like to share with us how you feel about today's episode?"    When Singer asks who he is and where he has been taken, the host calmly admits they are in White.  And that they are happy to have him here. "It is not often anyone reaches all the way to White."

A massive screen on the background shows Singer's face in close up as he admits, "I don't recall there being a White."  The audience roars in laughter. Singer asks again what is going on, and the audience all yells in unison, "YOU'VE MADE IT TO WHITE!"   Singer can see the Girl in Blue however worriedly muttering about having to go back.  The host tells Singer he's gotten past all the sadness, depression and heavy feelings of Blue.  "And you are now in White."   The host now asks for words from the audience.  He draws out numbers... "386.." and a woman in white with a duck-beak stands up.  She holds a pose that reminds Singer of a ballerina. A hanging microphone descends and she asks, "What was it like being in Blue?" Singer mumbles he doesn't remember. His memory is fuzzy.  People laugh again.



The host tells Singer there is no need to pretend not to remember as this is White after all.  Singer yells back he doesn't even know what that means. Laughter.  The host draws another number and he gets "247." The man in a suit and a walrus mask and a bowler's hat asks, "I know this is probably a strange question to ask, but given all the times you Mystery Agents would be running from the Spiders, and your desire to understand what the Spiders mean, did you ever consider to just drop a spider in some ink and see what marks they would make when they try to crawl out of it?"  Singer claims he hasn't even seen a Spider.  This time however, no one laughs or claps.  No one responds to his reply.  The host turns to Singer and admits there is only time for one last question.  "Are you ready to finally stay in White?"

"What do you mean by that? What is here in White?" Singer asks.

"Have you been playing for so long, you've forgotten what it means?" the host seems shocked.  Singer tries to feel around for the Lacuna device, but he can't find it at all.  The Girl in Blue is staring at the Agent, shaking her head as she weeps.  Singer can somehow see her hair moving in slow motion, and the words read, "Please don't let me send you back... Please don't ask me..."

Singer asks, "Where?"

The host, thinking it was for him, asks, "It is a Yes or No question..."

Singer tries a Call.  "Aleph."  Suddenly everything stops frozen, as if a pause button was pressed.  The Girl stares at Singer, her eyes widening more, and Singer can hear her voice now in his head. He asks where Kira is and she admits she needs to wait here.  That they've all been trying too hard.  And that this is not making sense.  And that they're out of time. She is out of time.  It is her birthday, she claims.  That happens today.

Singer tells her that she won't have to send him back.  She says thank you.

Time resumes.  The audience is cheering.  A clock begins to tick.  The lights transform the whole room to blue.  The audience applauds even louder.  The host turns to Singer and tells him that he is about to witness a birthday.  The Girl looks up, and as she screams, a paper mask is appearing over her face.

But then a light touch pushes against Singer's nape.  He hears a voice whisper, "3... 2... 1..." and he is once more falling.  The laughter and the white room fades.  He is gone.

*

Back at Reception.

Fisher, Page and Dexter see the Receptionist, a different woman, who smiles at them and admits that they might look perturbed, it is quite common as memory loss is common in the Blue City.  She offers them refreshments and tells them Control was very impressed with how Page carried himself in the Mission.  Senior Agent Chambers was giving him a recommendation for Team Leader  position in the future. Page asks what he did exactly.  Page is told he successfully escorted his team throughout the mission, and successfully noticed when Control itself was sending an Agent to shadow them. He even terminated a Hostile Personality.  Page just says, "If the record states it, then I just have to agree. I don't exactly remember what had happened."  Page is told they foresee working with him again in the future.  Dexter is told that Control noticed he seemed to be hesitant in using his Techniques, and if he would prefer to have a different Team Leader.  Dexter admits he would like a chance to talk to his Mentor, Senior Agent Snyder.  Receptionist promises to inform the Senior Agent when she gets the chance, given the Senior Agent tends to be active.  Dexter is noted to have disabled a number of Hostile Personalities.  He is recommended to work more frequently with Agent Page, given their capacity for Force.  Agent Fisher is commended for his direction in handling operations but is bothered that they had lost an Agent during the Mission. Fisher claims he does not recall.  Reception explains an Agent Singer was killed in action and his body was never recovered. Fisher claims to regret the action despite not remembering anything.

The three are told they will have an extended Rest and Recreation until their next Mission.  They are asked to give a single word response to the next question to end the debriefing.  The question for Agent Page is, if they trust the pearl earring. Page responds, "What?"   The question for Agent Dexter is, how many eyes did he see. Dexter responds, "Just mine."  And finally, Agent Fisher is asked if he is working for Senior Agent Miner.  Fisher says no.  They are thanked for their service.

They stand up.  They have that urge to ask each other what happened, how they escaped, but they decide not to risk it.  They recall as they walk out of the room a door opening. A man standing at the doorway, with a hand extended towards them.  The man says, "Mason.  My name is Mason.  You are all-" and then he closes his eyes and Calls each one of them to confirm who they are. He tells them he's pulling them out and reassures them Singer is safe, and that Singer will not be returning at the end of this Mission.  And that when he returns, he sadly might not recognize them.  Mason turned to Dexter, and asked if he collected the devices.  Dexter asked then for Snyder, but Mason countered that he needs to decide if he's working with them or with Snyder's group. Dexter insists he needs to know where Snyder is. Mason admits Snyder is where he always is, monitoring things in White.  He asks Dexter again for the devices.  Dexter hands one of them to Mason.  Mason admits he will need the jury-rigged devices to get Singer out.  As he opens his jacket, they see five other jury-rigged devices pinned in his coat.  Mason matches the one Dexter gave to one of them and confirms it should work.   He presses the button, and instead of a black hole, a white one appears.  Mason falls through and he is gone.


*

"You lied, Agent Fisher."

Fisher turns around to see the Receptionist in front of him.  The two others, Dexter and Page, were walking further down the hallway.    Fisher sees her gaze staring into his eyes, and he calmly replies, "About what?"

The Receptionist stares.  Then shakes her head.

"My mistake."  And she walks away.



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