An Empty Lot
Tondzaosha, Idaho Idaho
“Amelia?” Fredericks licked his lips, regarding the newcomer with narrowed eyes.
“Nathaniel.” Amelia lifted an open palm, fingers spread out in a warding gesture. “It’s been a while.”
Fredericks regarded the superior agent, training his weapon on her head as he spoke.
“The Amelia van den Broeke I knew couldn’t fly,” he said, pausing to take in her appearance and let loose a long breath of air. “Nor was she quite so… attractive.”
“Strange things sometimes happen in the field, you know that Fredericks. Put that thing away, that’s an order,” she countered, meeting his gaze with a scowl. She glanced at the other two agents, but didn’t speak another word.
“Oh, for hell sa—” Ashley moved to put herself between them, but Amelia waved her off.
“I’m going to need some kind of verification.” Frederick’s eyes never left Amelia.
“You’re a single father of three, you were married for almost ten years when your wife passed away from breast cancer. You’re an avid birdwatcher, you collect stamps and your favorite television show is Wormhole Xtreme.”
“All information that can be found online. I need something a little more concrete.” Fredericks lowered his weapon, but didn’t holster it and snaked his fingers up to adjust his tie.
Amy arched an eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest, a mischievous glint lighting her eyes. “You once told me in confidence that you suspected that someone had broken a stick off in Deputy Assistant Director Steenburg’s a—”
Fredericks cleared his throat, held a hand out and slipped his weapon back into its holster. “All right, all right I believe you.”
“God, Amelia, look at you. Can you blame me for being suspicious? How the hell did it happen?”
“That would be need to know, Fredericks.” She regarded him, an apologetic frown creasing her lips. “Let’s just say I crossed paths with someone who’s not exactly from our neck of the woods.”
Fredericks eyebrows shot up, but he only nodded and glanced back over his shoulder and jerked his head at each of his companions. “This is Harrison and Grimes.”
“Harrison, Grimes, this is Special Agent in Charge Amelia van den Broeke, we served together in New Hebron.”
Amelia nodded, regarding both men before returning her attention to Fredericks. “Three agents? We have a foothold situation and AEGIS only sends three agents?”
“There are more, the strike team is securing the local police station.” Fredericks replied.
“Right.” Amelia nodded. “In that case we should get moving.”
“Why, what’s going on?” Fredericks asked, stepping toward the agent.
“There’s an energy field surrounding a pocket of trees near the Cherry Springs Nature Trail, and it’s expanding.”
“Energy field? What kind of energy field?” Ashley asked, lurching back into sight.
“No idea, but whatever it is, it can’t be good. Whatever Leoffa’s up to, I think it’s clear we need to put a stop to it.”
“Well.” Fredericks eyes flicked between the duo of agents at his side. “When do we get under way?”
Alexandra snatched her hand up, again adjusting the strange dark spectacles which Agent van den Broeke had instructed her to wear. She crinkled her nose and slipped a finger under the bridge, joining the two lenses together, rubbing the flesh on the crest of her nose and gritted her teeth. Curse be to whatever madman had created such a strange contrivance!
She growled and dropped her hands, sensing that the two men, seated on either of her sides, had tensed. She peered up and found herself gazingf into a set of eyes. Her cheeks burned hot, but the former king only met the stranger’s gaze and clenched her jaw in challenge.
“Van den Broeke.” Fredericks furrowed his brows and glared at her between pursed lips before turning back to eye Amelia seated in the passenger seat beside him. “Are you sure about this girl?”
“Fredericks,” Amelia said, glancing at Alexandra before meeting the man’s gaze. “I don’t think you understand just how dire this situation is, we need her.”
Fredericks eyed her, lips pressed together in a thin line before again peering back at Alexandra. “If you say so.”
The once-king curled her lips and emitted a low rumbling growl, but did not speak. Amy twisted her neck around and issued a warning glance. The tiny woman sank her teeth into her lower lip, drawing blood, and silenced herself. She did not like the way the tall man looked at her, eyes cool and disinterested, as if he were looking right through her.
The car came to a stop and the pair of agents beside her exited the vehicle. Alexandra set her jaw, peered through the open door and released a long sigh. Her hands went to the seat belt, another irritating contrivance, and released it by pushing down on the orange indent. Another time or place, she might have marveled at the ingenuity of the device, all the while grumbling at having her movement constricted, but she paid it almost no mind.
As she climbed out of the car three more vehicles came screeching to a halt a short distance away. She only paid them a cursory glance, even as men and women, resplendent in full AEGIS tactical gear came pouring out from within each of the vans. Instead, she kept her eyes peeled on the pulsating dome of amethyst energy which sizzled and cackled in the open air before her. Only when Ashley arrived, slamming into the ground and producing a slight tremor did she pause, but even then it only held her attention for the barest of seconds.
She swallowed hard, and craned her neck back, peering up at the wall of power which stretched into the sky for thousands of feet. It circled a section of wilderness twice again as wide.
If she had any doubts that Leoffa possessed the crystal, they evaporated as she gazed upon the monolithic shield. No sorcerer or sorceress could conjure such a thing without joining forces with other magic users… or by making use of a powerful relic.
“Well shit,” Fredericks voice wafted in from somewhere behind her, but she did not turn to meet his gaze.
There came a scuffle of movement just off to her side, and Alexandra watched Amelia approach out of the corner of her eye. The Special Agent in Charge didn’t speak, she merely peered up at the dome, both hands planted on her hips, lips creased in a thoughtful frown.
“Now,” she spoke after several long moments of silence. “How the hell do we get inside?”
“We don’t,” the once-king answered, sinking down to her knees, hot tears burning the corners of her eyes as they streaked down her cheeks.
“No, it wouldn’t be that—” Amelia stopped mid-sentence.
A portion of the barrier flickered and flashed, and Alexandra brought a hand up to shield her eyes. A segment of energy about six feet wide by eight feet tall, crackled and retracted into the surrounding portion of the energy field.
“Oh hell,” Amelia cursed. “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Heart hammering in her ears, Alexandra rose to her feet. She glanced at Van den Broeke before striding toward the new opening.
“Wait!” Fredericks called after her. “You’re not going in there, are you?”
The little woman peered over her shoulder at him and shook her head. “What other choice do we have?”
“Van den Broeke?” Fredericks asked.
“It’s gotta be a trap, but Alex is right, we don’t have any other choice.”
Alexandra peered back at Amelia, frowned, and stepped into the opening.