Jay (canadian_jay) wrote in primevalathon,
Jay
canadian_jay
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Fic: One Side of the Anomaly

Title: One Side of the Anomaly
Author: canadian_jay
Recipient: rodlox
Prompt(s): Did Christine Johnson have a role in the events of s1 or 2? If she did, what role was that - and if she didn't, then what role might she have had *were she involved?*
Rating: PG
Summary: Every cloud has a silver lining, and Christine finds profit in a miserable and turns it to her advantage.
Warnings: Rated for mild language and a bit of mildly graphic imagery.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never mine, no profit,
Author's Notes: I had fun writing this - it was great to play with Christine, who I'm loving more and more.

a) Angels, Jamaica is a real place, but I've never been there. b) Apologies to Rodlox for the delay! Life got absurdly busy while the bunny grew and grew. c) I'm not sure how close to the prompt this fits, but it assumes that S1 and S2 took place over 2006 - (possibly) 2007. It also takes a 'what if' trajectory, and Ryan insisted upon staying alive. d) ITV profile claims Christine has a background in science, hence a certain remark in the fic. and e) thank you to my beta for an absurdly fast response. ^^



Angels, Jamaica, early 2006

The hot summer sun was a force unto itself, beating mercilessly down upon the island and its inhabitants. With the hour nearing noon, most sensible people were heading for the nearest shade. Normally, Roberta Samuels would be one of those. But today she strode down the main road, wearing a faded calico-print sundress and a scowl, thick sandals slapping against the ground. She'd been in Jamaica for nearly three years now, but she didn't like it any better than when she’d first come. In her wake hurried a tall, pale man in a dusty suit and straw hat, and a shorter, more solid Jamaican man who managed to look as though he was striding as well, despite his actual pace being a rapid trot.

Roberta ducked down a side road so abruptly that the pale man nearly tripped over himself trying to keep pace. The buildings blocked some of the sun's rays some, though the muggy heat still hung thick in the air. After several more abrupt corners, the small party, watched with interest by all who it passed, was at the entrance to a second-rate boarding house. Roberta halted on the steps and turned to level her glare at the pale man. He didn't notice her attention immediately, absorbed as he was in the business of mopping his brow with an expensive white handkerchief. She cleared her throat impatiently and he jolted, looking up with a vaguely guilty expression.

"Yes, Ms Samuels?" he said politely. Her reply was much less polite, a hissed whisper accompanied by a green-eyed glare.

"Don't even think of speaking to anyone in here."

She then spun on her heel, skirt flowing in a lacklustre billow around her, and tugged a key on a string out from around her neck to unlock the door. She eased it open and stepped through rather more sedately than her pace through the streets. The few residents lounging about in the general room glanced up and then down again, recognizing young Roberta Samuels as of no significance. The only man who spared her more than a glance met her gaze for the briefest of moments and gave a nearly impercepitible nod. Roberta cleared her throat again and headed for the staircase.

The small set of rooms she led the two men into were very much plain and ordinary, exactly the sort of rooms that an amateur photographer-cum-historian with no particular place of residence might have. Half-packed bags were strewn about the room, and an open camera bag lay on the single bed, along with assorted sun-dresses and a pair of khaki trousers. The only unique thing in the room was a sleek new laptop whirring happily on the rickety desk in one corner.

"Take a seat," she said abruptly, heading straight for the laptop.

The Jamaican shut the door with a quiet click and made his way, slower now, over to the bed to shove a sundress aside and sit quietly. The pale man drew himself up to his full height and opened his mouth, clearly put out by her order. He clamped it shut when she peered over her shoulder, eyes sparking viciously. He sat hastily, but not quietly.

"Now, Ms. Samuels, this is all rather unexpected and, er, unprecedented-"

"Don't give me that crap, Stryker. My background is known. There is no way they expected to be able to get me to let go of this." Her voice was brisk and polished, the posh accent at odds with her frumpy appearance.

Stryker coughed into his handkerchief then frowned at it.

"They do, though, and you are too hand over the files immediately and prepare for extraction. That is your job, Ms Samuels, and you would do well to remember that."

Roberta snorted, clicking away at the laptop before angling the screen to face the two men and saying, "Really, Stryker? It never fails to impress me just how naive some people can be."

She hit one last button, and the screen went black before flicking up one photo. And then another, and another, continuing in rapid sequence. Odd balls of light flashed by, all of varying dimensions, all against the same background of an old cane sugar plantation grown wild. Then there was an image of the ball of light bulging, its shards dancing away from it. The screen was dominated for a moment by a grey-black blur with teeth and then it went black.

Stryker raised an eyebrow, unimpressed.

Roberta nodded at the Jamaican.

"Tell him, Patrice."

Stryker twisted slowly to look at Patrice as the man began to speak, his voice husky and low.

"It attacked the camera. We had one set to take pictures at regular intervals. Took that picture of the creature before the men on the site even knew it was there. They first noticed something when the camera disappeared, then fell back to the ground some ten feet away. Caught them out. We lost three before it was shot down. The intervals between photographs were being measured in milliseconds."

Stryker's eyebrow dropped back down, but he still looked bored and uncomfortable.

"Samuels, this is ridiculous. You've been called off of the assignment. Hand over the files, as you've been instructed or I'll have to take disciplinary action."

Roberta began to laugh, soft and low.

As she laughed, Stryker's frown deepened and he sat up straighter.

"Samuels..." he began warningly, but she broke him off.

"You don't get it, do you, Andrew? You're not the one in charge here, and I won't be handing over these files. Not without keeping a copy for myself."

Her smile curved slowly upwards, confidant. Stryker stiffened and half-rose from the bed.

"Now listen here, Roberta-"

The sharp click of a gun being cocked cut off his words. Patrice's face was devoid of emotion as he pressed the Sig Sauer into Stryker's skull.

Roberta rose from her chair and paced slowly around the room, a caged tigress clothed in pastels.

"Your men aren't going to rescue you, Andrew. They've been removed from the situation. You-"

"You bitch! If you've killed them, so help me, I will see you-" A sharp jab from Patrice's thumb to a tender spot below his jaw strangled Stryker's words.

"They're not dead, Andrew. I wouldn't be that crude," she said dismissively, before picking her original sentence back up. "You are at my mercy, and it will be through you that I will negotiate. Because I am willing to negotiate. But not with you - oh no, there is nothing you can do for me - but through you. Now, are you going to co-operate or-" and here her voice dropped even lower and she came to halt, standing directly in front of him. Bending over until her lips rested by his ear, she murmured, "Or will I have to have Patrice take care of you? Unfortunate incidents aren't completely unknown here, you know."

Most sensibly, Andrew Stryker nodded his head. He knew when he was caught in a web spun by a bigger spider than him. Roberta Samuels saw this and smiled in satisfaction. She was getting tired of sundresses and photography.


London, England, January 2007
SIS Headquarters


"Well, Ms. Johnson, I guess you consider this last operation of yours to be a success."

Christine smiled. She certainly did, more than this man would ever know. Though the Jamaica assignment had originally been meant as an insult - a simple operation, so easy a rank amateur could have done it, in her opinion - it had turned out to be the most profitable of any that Christine had been given. Even more than just what she had found in Jamaica, what she had managed to get out of it was the real success.

She'd returned flown back from Jamaica three weeks ago and was finally starting to feel human again. Though England in January had by no means the most pleasant of weather, it was pleasingly cool after three years of tropical heat. She could even enjoy the rain, as it wasn't the constant deluge of the rainy season that always seemed to add to the humidity. Christine had never before appreciated England's climate quite so much, even after her two months in the Congo. But then, she hadn't been forced to wear horrifyingly ugly dresses and sandals in the Congo. Two months of thick boots she could stand, but Christine was quite certain that she would never wear a flat-soled sandal again in her life - if she ever wore a sandal again, it was going to be a strappy stiletto at the least.

"I guess I do. It certainly has put me in a unique position."

That earned her a dry chuckle from the man walking down the corridor with her. They both knew - and besides one other person, were the only ones who did know - just how unique her position was. He shook his head before saying, "Yes, indeed so. I've not heard of something like this happening before."

He paused then, before continuing ruefully, "Although if something just like this had happened before, I suppose I wouldn't know about it."

Christine smiled a tight smile. "If everything went swimmingly, I'd expect so. Now, I do hope you won't be expecting terribly regular reports, Mr Abrams. That would become rather dull."

Abrams chuckled. "Not very subtle of you, Ms Johnson, not very subtle at all."

"Well, if it bothers you that much, just find a piece of society to tap into. I intend to live a far more public life now - "

She cut herself off at the sight of two young men in ill-fitting suits heading down the hallway toward them. Abrams nodded thoughtfully, though, not needing to hear the rest of the sentence to understand. The two men bobbed their heads obsequieously as they passed and it wasn't until they were out of earshot that Christine began to speak once more.

"Now that secrecy would only draw attention."

Abrams nodded again, humming his assent in the back of his throat.

"I think I shall demand a report every two months, that shouldn't be much trouble. And a yearly summation, of course," he said as they turned up a short staircase and down an even shorter corridor leading to a plain door with the name Q Abrams engraved upon it. "And you will write, won't you? If anything terribly exciting happens."

Christine smiled once more, the smooth, polished smile of a practiced politician.

"But of course," she lied. She had no intention of maintaining any more correspondence with SIS than absolutely necessary.
Abrams beamed at her, and nodded his head. They both knew she was lying, of course, but that was all part of this new game. The practice would do her good. He shook her hand then, before entering his office and shutting the door firmly behind him.

Christine stood outside her boss' door, looking at it thoughtfully. She had them where she wanted them now, but would they stay there... that was the real question. There really wasn't anything she could do about it either, except wait and see. And she was not a patient person. She huffed a small sigh and turned, walking for a final time the familiar route between Abrams' office and her own. Tomorrow, she moved into her new flat, her new job, and a new office. This one had a window view.


London, England, March 2007
Home Office


"Christine, so lovely to see you again."

"And you, James, you look-" she paused, giving him a very deliberate once- over before pasting a blatantly fake smile on her face, "a touch peaky. Are you feeling well?"

James Lester arched an eyebrow at her and replied in his driyest tone. "Quite. The best I've felt in years. What brings you here?"

Christine clucked her tongue reprovingly and trapped one of Lester's arms within hers. She could feel the aggrieved sigh run through his body as he allowed himself to be pulled alongside her and steered through the labyrinth of white and glass. Christine barely kept the smirk off her lips - James was always such a lovely sparring partner.

"Oh, you know. Business."

"Really."

A lovely sparring partner, she thought, but also a touch foolish - he didn't believe her.

"Yes, indeed. You and I have a meeting, do we not?"

He stiffened and dug his heels in, effectively stopping their march through the corridor with a jolt. Christine released his arm and turned to scowl at him, only remembering at the last minute to turn into a bemused smile. The suspicious glint in his eyes was new, and she hadn't been entirely lying earlier when she'd said he looked peaky. He was paler than she had seen him in years, and his eyes looked faintly bloodshot. Tired, then. Overwork, but not of the usual sort. James Lester was frighteningly efficient and thus possessed an undeserved reputation as a workaholic, but he was also one of the most arrogantly self-absorbed men she knew. It was rare for him to let himself get into such a state.

"You must be mistaken, I am meeting with-"

He paused then, and narrowed his eyes at her. "Unless, of course, you are the new military liaison?"

"Always so clever, James," she purred. "Now, my office?"

He snorted, but allowed her to once more take his arm and steer him through the corridors in an intimate press. In a murmur, he said:

"You don't honestly expect me to believe that you keep your proper office here. It's far too common for your standards."

"Mmm. Practical, though, when I have to meet with people who simply don't have the time to make proper appointments."

"Touché," was the final murmur before Christine's pronounciation of, "Ah! Here we are, do come in, have a seat."

"I think I'll stand, thank you."

His drawl, Christine mused, certainly hadn't changed any. She shrugged at this and rounded her desk to perch in the chair, shuffling through paperwork in an entirely pointless search for a specific file. Lester watched her with nary a flicker of amusement, his green eyes cool. She heaved an inward sigh - it seemed his absurd talent at patience hadn't changed either, one trait he had always had greater quantities of than her. Whether or not he chose to exercise it was another matter, she knew. His reputation for expecting immediate results was wildly known.

Finally she gave up on the pretence and found the file, sitting off to one side.

"Ah! Here it is. I must have put it aside this morning."

This only prompted the flicker of one eyebrow and Christine bit the inside of her cheek in frustration.

"Do sit, James, you loom like a Neanderthal. Now, this is quite a project you've got yourself." She flipped the file open with a sharp snap and began rifling through the pages.

"The last I heard, you were in Jamaica, with MI6."

"Sit, James."

It was times like these that Christine wished for eyeglasses. They would be so satisfying to glare over, if a touch matronly. She met his stare with one equally steely, and drummed her fingers on the desk, red nails flashing in the afternoon sun. Lester sat.

"Dinosaurs and scientists? How terribly Hollywood of you."

That earned her a pained grimace.

"Indeed. Though unfortunately, Tyrannosaurus rex can see people when they're still."

Christine smirked. "And you're making science fiction references. Dreadful. Now, what on earth do you need this many soldiers for?"

"Have you seen the casualty list? Or the death rate, perhaps. The anomalies have an unfortunate liking for sending us raptors and their ilk."

Christine flicked to the page and clicked her tongue. She had already seen it, of course, and if she didn't have her own proof, this would have been enough alone to convince her that the anomaly story wasn't just a cover for something else.

"Sloppy, James, very sloppy."

"You know I'm nothing but the pen-pusher, Christine. Captain Ryan seems to be getting the knack of it, though. He should be able to train new men quite readily."

"Well, you'll have to make do with what we send you. Special Forces can't just keep pouring men into this little... project of yours."

Lester frowned at this, and leaned forward slightly. "I have assurances from several sources that the ARC program is recognized to be a matter of some importance for national security."

Christine sighed. It had, in fact, been surprisingly easy to negotiate for a new squad of men (and replacements for the others) for the ARC. But she certainly wasn't going to tell Lester that. So long as he thought there was a precarious balance... that was where she wanted him.

"Yes, well... what are words worth, really? In today's world. In fact, if it wasn’t for the losses they have to make up, Ryan's team would have already been sent elsewhere, temporarily. They are quite useful."

The frown on Lester's face deepened. "Anyone can shoot another man, men who can shoot a rampaging monster from another time are rather more rare."

Christine shrugged. "I am under the impression that they bring in the Special Forces when they need to do a little more than just shoot some men, but as it stands... they have deemed it fit to send over a new squad. The captain, mind you, is disturbingly young and few of the men have seen anything like real action, but there you have it."

Lester's lips thinned, his disapproval clear. As Christine handed him over the files, she attempted to judge whether his disapproval was at her methods or her message. Lester had grown cannier since their last encounter, and his face betrayed no flicker of what he was actually thinking. She watched, fingers steepled at her chin, as he flipped through the files.

What she had told him was the truth, more or less. The captain was quite young, and many of his men were as well. But several of them, including the rather shockingly scarred senior lieutenant, were quite experienced as well. Lester clearly picked up on this while skimming the file, for his expression lightened somewhat.

The rest of the meeting was mere formalities and signatures. Christine attempted a few more barbs, but Lester didn't rise to the bait. She watched him leave with a slight frown on her face. The anomaly problem must be bigger than she’d thought, for it to be affecting Lester so much. The door swung shut behind him and she stretched in her chair. Or perhaps, she thought ruefully, they were just getting old. Or...

Staring out over the view of London - not quite as nice as at her actual offices, but nice enough - thoughts and speculations tumbled through Christine's head. Perhaps the haphazard team he had wasn't quite as efficient as they were made to seem. Perhaps they had run into some sort of internal problem, or a political one. Perhaps, perhaps... the possibilities were nearly endless, and she knew that she only had a small piece of the story. Well, if everything went according to plan, that would change soon. Her eyes narrowed and a smug smirk twisted her face. Yes, that would change very soon. James Lester was patient, canny, efficient, and stubborn as all hell, she knew. But she also knew that he was rather more trusting than a man in his line of work should be.


London, England, July 2007

The day hung hot and heavy over all of London. Those who could be were holed up inside, air conditioners and fans running at full power. In the distance, grey clouds loomed, both a threat and a promise, dark against a gilded blue sky. Christine Johnson leaned forward in her seat to snap at the driver to turn up the air conditioning. With the experience of innumerable years, the venerable old man replied politely that it was as high as it would go, ma'am. Christine cursed and settled back in her seat to glare out the window at the city rolling by. Never again, she thought sourly. Never again am I getting leather seats in a vehicle.

As the black Rolls-Royce turned into the driveway of a gleaming monstrosity of modern architecture, Christine fidgeted in her seat, tugging uselessly at her skirt. As soon as she had it freed from clinging to the backs of her legs and settled in a position, it just stuck back on. Cursing under her breath, she glared at the guard through her tinted window. A brief conversation, which she ignored, took place between him and her driver and then they were moving once more. It was, she decided, so typical of Lester to provide the long-requested tour of the new headquarters of the anomaly project on the hottest day of the summer. She eyed it with trepidation as they pulled into the visitor's carpark, separate from the main building. It had entirely too much glass for her liking, and threatened to be reminiscent of a greenhouse.

Her door opened and Christine extracted herself from the car, one shapely leg at a time. Standing on the tarmac, she tugged her skirt straight with a sharp snap of her wrist and attempted to flick her blouse back into shape. Stepping away from the vehicle, she nodded at the driver as he shut the door.

"I'll call," she told him, eyes already flickering toward the entrance of the building, "when I need you." The driver's white head bobbed so low he seemed to make more of a half-bow.

Christine paused a moment longer to prod her hair cautiously. It seemed to be co-operating so far and she didn't want to risk disturbing it. If those long years in Jamaica had been good for one thing, it was learning how to handle her hair in humid heat. Satisfied that she looked as possibly cool as the circumstances permitted, she started for the door, heels clicking in a satisfyingly imposing manner.

They had a guard posted at the main door as well, and a brief but keen glance at his face told Christine that he was one of Becker's men. He nodded impassively, young face almost absurdly sombre. Fighting back her smirk of amusement, Christine pushed open the doors and stepped through into the ARC and the gust of cool air that greeted her. Despite herself, she breathed a small sigh, which didn't go unnoticed by the man striding toward her.

"Dreadful heat, isn't it?" he said, coming to a halt a couple of feet away.

Christine offered James Lester one of her patently false smiles. "Good to see you've got climate control in your little clubhouse, James."

The tight smile that flickered across his face was as false and sarcastic as her own. "I imagine it is. You're looking a little..." he paused delicately, "flat. Your drive was uneventful, I trust?"

As he spoke, Lester turned on his heel and began walking back down the short corridor. Annoyed with herself for having to do so, Christine hurried to catch up and walk beside him.

"Quite," she said, her tone carefully neutral. The corridor ended rather abruptly in another set of swing doors that Lester simply pushed through. Christine followed, noting wryly that he had made no move to hold a door open for her. Always the gentleman, James Lester. He paused as the doors swung shut behind him, arms folded across his chest, and watched her. Christine looked out over the broad, open space sprawling before her, her face carefully schooled into boredom.

She returned his steady gaze, quirking an eyebrow quizzically. "Really James, you can't expect me to be impressed with this glorified atrium of yours."

She allowed herself a second glance over the area. It looked a bit like a warehouse, in her opinion, a warehouse designed by architects with post-modern pretensions.

Lester shrugged and headed for a ramp the curved up the side of the room to the floor above.

"This is the main area of operations for the field team itself," he drawled over his shoulder. "Their offices are on the first floor down -" he gestured absently toward a corridor extending off to their left, "that way. This, though, is mine. Do come in."

He held this door open for her, eyes sparking with a touch of mockery. Christine smiled at him, and purred, "Too kind," as she strode into the office. The entire wall that looked out over the atrium was glass and she quirked an eyebrow at it as he entered after her.

"Quite open, isn't it?"

Lester went to stand behind his desk and answered with a small shrug. "Perhaps. Now, you'll be wanting to get the paperwork out of the way first, I assume?"

She shot him a sour look as she came to stand in front of his desk, but he was busy with the computer and missed it. Christine knew that he knew she would much rather have a physical tour of the facility straight away. But of course he would dredge up as much paperwork as possible, to bore her with. It never ceased to amaze Christine just how many forms government facilities could produce at a moment's notice.

-

Lester managed to delay her with paperwork for several hours before they started the actual tour, so they were just finishing it off when piercing sirens began to wail. To Christine's amusement Lester cringed as he executed a prompt about face and jerked his head for her to follow. His pace picked up as they neared the atrium, but Christine didn't bother matching him. She let Lester enter first, smirking a little at the way he banged through the double doors, coattails flapping.

"Oh James," she murmured, "Always so dramatic."

Shaking her head in amusement, Christine entered rather more sedately and paused, taking in the scene before her. Lester hadn't introduced her to the civilian members of the team, for they had somehow managed to avoid running into any of them, even in their offices. It made Christine wonder just what they actually did during the day. The siren abruptly ended, and she watched the group before her with keen interest. The gawky geek typing frantically at the computer was indubitably Connor Temple - he was, she thought, rather unmistakeable. The blonde girl hovering at his shoulder was Abigail Maitland, of course, and the man running towards them shouting in a Scottish accent was the infamous Nick Cutter. Christine noted them and then dismissed them. Of rather more interest to her was the tall, dark-haired man leaning over on the other side of Connor, and the stocky soldier type looming nearby.

Of the tall man Christine had been able to find out very little. While she could have quoted the other three a good portion of their lifestories back at the other three, Dr Stephen Hart had proven rather more resistant to attempts to find out his past. Christine's lips thinned as she watched him. He looked quiet and, if he wasn’t quite so handsome, rather forgettable. The looming soldier was Captain Tom Ryan. He had been quite easy to find information on - easier than the others, really - but Christine watched him closely as well. Her man had said that Captain Ryan was more suspicious than they had expected, and at one point had said that he had feared the soldier was on to him.

He didn't look like much, to Christine's eyes. Not until he looked up and caught her eye without even glancing anywhere else. Sharp, then. So had his record had implied. But still... the others were noticing Ryan's gaze, so Christine smiled at him and broke eye contact, striding forward to stand beside James.

"An anomaly, I take it?" she said, flicking her glance toward the array of monitors filled with spinning graphics. Her entrance interrupted something that Cutter was saying and the team all startled visibly. As they spun around to look at her, they were comically wide-eyed. All save Lester who sighed gustily and Captain Ryan whose stoic gaze had followed her progress over.

"Indeed," was Lester's reply, ignoring the goggling scientists, "Rather fortunate, is it not? You'll be able to see them leave."

Christine favoured him with her brightest smile and said, "Oh, I was thinking I could come along for the ride, provided it isn't too out of the way. First-hand experience and all that, yes, James?"

He arched an eyebrow and asked, "Mr Temple. Where were you saying this is?"

"Er, just outside the city proper."

Lester's lips thinned and Christine's smile grew broader.

-

She had seen the photos, of course, and they had been the same as the her's from Jamaica, but she had never actually seen one in person. The pictures, she decided, really hadn't done them justice. The coruscating ball of light spun lazily in the air. The shards at the furthest edges pressed against the garden wall that the anomaly was tucked behind. Christine was a little surprised at the team's efficiency. She shouldn't be, she supposed, after all they had been working on this for over a year. But their haphazard appearance certainly belied that.

Upon arrival, most of the team had taken a few quick looks and set out again, leaving only a small guard of the SF men on the anomaly itself. Cutter made an awkward motion toward Christine, clearly wondering if he was supposed to take her along, but an arched eyebrow sent him scurrying on his way. She watched Cutter, and Hart, and Temple leave, all bandying words back and forth at a speed that exhausted her to hear, in this heat. This idea had seemed fine in the sleek coolness of the ARC, but outside it was hotter than ever.

She paced restlessly for a time, back and forth, from shade to sunlight and back to shade. But as the minutes dragged on, she gave up on that and seated herself in the open back of the remaining truck. A cautious poking of her hair told her that it at least was still presentable. Her white blouse, though, was sticking to her and Christine was about ready to rip the skirt to shreds. She managed to distract herself from the heat for a time by studying the anomaly intently, squinting at it against the double glare of the noon-day sun and its own glow.

When that began to give her a headache, she directed and impatient scowl at it, glanced down at her watch and pulled her BlackBerry out of her purse. She really didn't have that much to do - before leaving she had ensured that her schedule would be clear - but fiddling with the phone gave her something to do with her hands, at least. Christine found a couple of emails to reply too, though the connection seemed unusually slow, until she remembered the reported electromagnetic field of the anomaly. She paused then, musing. It had been a long time since she had come across anything as scientifically interesting as this, if she ever had.

Lost in thought, she didn't notice Ryan until he stood beside her. She paused, then slid her phone back inside her purse and looked at him.

"Did you want something, Captain?"

He didn't reply immediately, clearly deliberating over what he was going to say. Finally, he spoke.

"Curious that you would come out here. I would have thought you'd send... lackeys to do this sort of thing."

Christine narrowed her eyes.

"This project is of enough significance that I deemed it necessary to inspect the operations first hand."

"Enough significance to keep a close eye on?"

Christine arched an eyebrow. The captain wasn't an idiot, but he was rather... obvious. Well.

"Quite."

Ryan nodded then, a short and abrupt motion of his head. "For your sake, ma'am, I hope that's all you are doing."

"Are you threatening me, Captain?" Christine demanded, voice sharp.

Ryan looked at her, face blank and gaze steady, then turned and walked back to where his men stood by the anomaly.

-

On her way back to her offices, later that day, Christine couldn't help but keep turning the man's words over in her mind. It was an odd thing to say, all things considered. Despite her question, Christine wasn't entirely sure it had been a threat. A warning, perhaps, but not a threat. The woman shook her head and put the incident out of her mind. Of rather more import were the ramifications of all of this. Drumming her fingers on the car door, Christine Johnson considered the future and the past and all it could bring.



Secret Research Facility, England, October 2007


An office chair creaked in the silence, the seat swinging back and forth, bumping off of the door. Shrapnel shards of glass, glaring harshly under the fluorescent lights, lay scattered across the floor. A single hand rested in their midst, the last of its blood slowly oozing out of it. A soft chittering echoed down the vacant hallway. Hesitant skittering started and stopped, bringing the large grey beast slowly forward. Glass cracking beneath its feet, the predator lowered its head to sniff at the hand of the prey it had not killed.
Tags: author: canadian_jay, genre: gen, year: 2010 spring
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