The entire story is already written. I'm just waiting on some beta reviewers for the second half. I'll be posting chapters fairly quickly. This is my first published fanfic. Reviews - constructive and/or encouraging - are welcome.
Juliana Nolan took a seat behind her desk, a single groomed eyebrow lifting slightly as she studied the scientist in front of her. "Where are we on the current research projects?"
"Project 215 is behind at the moment, Ms. Nolan." The man swallowed self-consciously, shoving his hands in the pockets of his wrinkled lab coat before continuing. "It seems one of the research subjects has gone missing."
"Missing?" The woman tapped her fingers on her desk for a moment. "And how does a research subject go missing, Doctor?"
The man had already been nervous. Now a cold sweat broke out on his forehead and his voice caught in his throat. It was rarely a good thing to be called into Ms. Nolan's office. He cleared his throat a few times before finally getting the words out. "It seems that subject 2457 has changed location and name since the last observation period, ma'am."
A stern expression turned the woman's classically beautiful face cold and imposing. Her voice was low, forcing the researcher to lean forward to catch her words. "Subject 2457 is vital to the project. Find that subject, bring it in, and make sure it does not go missing again. Use whatever means are necessary. Am I clear?"
The man nodded silently, almost spastically, clearly hoping the interview was over.
"Make sure all your coworkers understand as well." Juliana gestured to the door. "And keep me informed of your progress."
The woman watched as the scientist practically bolted out the door, but her mind was already turning to the next thing on her list for the day.
Stepping out of the electronics store, I blinked a few times, letting my eyes adjust to the sunlight. Scanning the street was a matter of habit, and I couldn't help the half-smile when I saw the two black SUVs parked not far away with their engines still running. And if the vehicles hadn't been clue enough, the matching suits and trench coats of the men getting out of them would have been a dead giveaway.
It looked like someone had noticed I was in town. That could make for an interesting weekend - certainly more interesting than staying at Sanctuary would have been. It might even be fun. Did they really think I'd come into the city without knowing my escape routes?
I stood in the doorway of the store long enough to make sure the agents saw me before heading down the street at a casual pace. No reason to let them know I'd spotted them yet. They'd realize it soon enough.
Once the second pair of agents joined in, I picked up the pace until I was running. I cut down a side alley, reviewing my options as I ran. They really ought to know by know that I never came into the city by myself unless I knew all my options. And I had plenty of them down here. That was one of the reasons I'd picked that particular store.
It was cool enough that I hadn't started to sweat yet, but the breeze had been cut off the minute I entered the alley. The stench of rotting garbage reminded me of where I was just as the end of the alley opened up to a cross street. The brick stung my left hand as I slapped the corner of the building, changing my direction without losing much of my momentum.
I glanced over my shoulder at the sound of cursing. This set of agents appeared to be in pretty good shape. They weren't out of breath yet, despite the cursing. It looked like I might have to pull out another trick or two to get away from them. It was a good thing I had plenty of resources down here, though it would take a few minutes before I could use any of them.
I had to keep glancing back to make sure the agents had me in sight, which was a little annoying, but it never hurt to let them think they were close to catching up as long as I didn't let them. It's not like I had any immediate backup and even a few hours in custody was more than I wanted to experience. I'd been there and done that already.
Finally the landmarks I'd been looking for came into view. A quick left and then a right, and I reached out and grabbed for the signpost on my right. I let the signpost pivot me ninety degrees and the concrete wall of the building filled my vision.
No doubt the agents were confused when they came around that same corner. It was a dead-end. I'm sure they even did a thorough job of inspecting it for hidden doors and passages but they wouldn't have found anything. As far as they were concerned, I'd disappeared into thin air, which wasn't going to make their boss very happy.
I didn't quite disappear into thin air. You see, I'm a molecular class mutant. What I did was to lower my molecular density until I could pass through the wall instead of running into it head first. We call it phasing. I could have phased the wall, but when its just me and timing is an issue, its easier to just phase myself. I can do the opposite too - raise the molecular density of my body. Its kind of fun to watch the expressions the first time agents see their bullets bounce off me.
Now I'd picked that particular wall to phase through for a good reason. It was the outside wall of one our safe-houses for the mutant Underground. I could rest a little, check on the computer systems, and contact Sanctuary from here. If I remembered correctly, I might even have a change of clothes stashed somewhere in the building.
After I caught my breath, I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and headed down to the basement. The main computer was down there, and I might as well run a system diagnostic and check the messages while I waited for my pursuers to give up for today.
With the system diagnostic under way, I brought up the messages from the hot line. Most of them were pretty standard - new mutants looking for help. One though - I exhaled slowly, biting my lower lip and running my hand through my hair as I listened to it a second time. The voice was modified and there was no way of telling from my end if it was male or female. This was the second call this month warning us of a planned raid on one of our safe-houses. The previous call had been accurate. Even more troubling, the number was untraceable.
I sent the message on to Sanctuary with a high priority tag and hoped it wasn't the beginning of a trend. The diagnostic had finished by then and I checked the results. After uploading a few patches to the security system, I hunted up the extra clothes I'd left here on my last visit. By the time I'd changed, I figured it was pretty safe to head back to where I'd parked the car.