(Tuesday 28th, April)
"So the bank robber was just some punk criminal and nothing to be worried about." Officer Landsman's voice dispersed throughout the air, and suddenly a large file landed on top of Tessa's desk with a loud thud, startling her. She looked up to see Officer Landsman's smirking face. "Not sure why you even had him checked out."
"Gavin thought it necessary, and you wouldn't go against your superior, would you?" Tessa asked, and a look of panic went over the round police officer's face at the mention of Gavin's name.
"O-of course not." He stuttered, and Tessa smiled, grabbing the giant file.
"Great. I hear Office Lowe needs some assistance so why don't you go help her?" Officer Landsman blinked then nodded and made his way out of her office and over to the young policewoman. Once the door was closed, Tessa looked down at the giant file and groaned. This was going to be hell.
"Need help?" Gavin's voice entered her eyes, and Tessa looked up at her partner, who was peeking through her office door, smiling awkwardly.
"Yes, please." She begged, and Gavin offered her a small smile, walking in, pulling over a chair and taking a seat before taking the file and opening it up. Tessa decided not to question him on doing the whole thing and turned back to the information Aria had gathered for her about the McHens. It was very conflicting. On the outside, they were friendly and kind people who'd experience sadness. They'd gotten married, had a son who'd grown up to have kids of his own before being tragically murdered in that bank robbery.
But dig a little deeper, and they suddenly have dropped threat and assault charges against them, strange business trips around the globe and had essential careers in the government. They hardly mourned their son's death and had no contact with their grandchildren. Then there was their connection to that bank robber who could have been an evolver. They hadn't pressed charges against the man for killing their son. It was all so strange. What was stranger is their connection to the multi-pile car crash. It was apparent they'd been the real targets, but why? And what was the deal with the warehouse Gavin and her had been lead to? And this whole 'Queen' business. Tessa groaned and banged her head on the table.
"Everything alright?" Gavin asked, "Are you having trouble reading it all?" Tessa sighed.
"No, it's just...Why is this case so hard to solve?"
"How do you mean?" Tessa raised her head.
"I mean, why killed Tony and Gabby in such a horrific way? If somebody wanted to kill them, a hit would have been simpler and cleaner."
"But it wouldn't have been as public." A different voice whispered into her ear, and Tessa jumped out of her seat at the shiver that went down her spine. She spun around to see Brooke standing there, a massive grin on her face.
"What are you doing here?!" Tessa asked and Brooke blinked innocently.
"I'm here to visit my little sister."
"How did you even get in here?"
"I'm going to pretend you didn't ask that."
"What do you mean it wouldn't have been as public?" Gavin asked, preventing the incoming argument from breaking out. Brooke smiled at him, ignoring Tessa, who was seething.
"A disguised hit isn't nearly as news breaking as a multi-pile car crash in the middle of the day." She clarified, and Tessa blinked. She was right. Everyone, including Aria, had seen it on TV and Aria never watches TV.
"But why the media attention?" Brooke smiled at Tessa, though it had a bit of sadness to it.
"To get your attention." Tessa blinked.
"My attention?" Brooke nodded.
"Yeah. Remember that guy's last words. 'She may have protected you, but she won't be able to save 'them'. Well, I believe he was talking about you. I mean, you had just saved Gavin, right? And you started your job again because of the massive car crash." Brooke said, and Tessa lowered her head.
"No guesses, I'm completely right, and I'll prove it." Tessa looked up when a photo was suddenly shoved in her face. She grabbed it and lowered it. It was a picture of her at her local laundry mat. It had Aria and Brooke in it, helping Tessa figure out how the laundry machines worked with Nyla having taken the picture. It had been Monday the 6th, the day she'd officially moved into her new apartment. And the last day all four of them had spent together.
"I don't see-"
"Look closer." Brooke's finger pointed out an old couple in the background, who was sitting at the table, watching Aria muck around with Tessa yelling at her and Brooke laughing, smiles on their face. Tessa looked closer and recognised their features. It was Tony and Gabby McHens. She'd recognised them anywhere after staring at their faces for the past week and a bit.
"Oh. My. Gods." Gavin gave her a look at her use of 'gods', but she ignored it. "Does that mean they have been watching me and I didn't realise?" Brooke shook her head.
"Probably not in the way your thinking. I'd say they were assigned by someone to keep track of when you'd start your job. By who? I couldn't say. Probably the same people who are after this 'Queen'"
"Black Swan," Gavin muttered, and Tessa tensed at the name, turning to him.
"What did you say?" He looked at her and Brooke before wandering over to his makeshift-desk, grabbing a file and coming back. He then eyed Brooke.
"I probably shouldn't tell you this, but you seem to know what you're doing so I guess it's okay." He then opened up his folder. "Black Swan is an organisation that exists in the shadows. Not much is known about them other than the fact that they're obsessed with 'Evolvers'." He glanced at Brooke. "An evolver-"
"I know what an evolver is. I'm one myself, as is Tessa, Nyla and Aria." She interrupted him, looking serious for once. Tessa frowned and ignored Gavin's shocked expression. Black Swan. It couldn't be...But what could they want with her? "So, you don't know what Black Swan wants?"
"No, but S.T.F. is determined to figure it out." Tessa blinked.
"Special Task Force." Brooke and Gavin said at the same time, and Tessa felt even more confused.
"I'm sorry?" She asked, and Gavin sighed, continuing to eye Brooke with suspicion.
"I'm not a police officer, I'm actually an Evol Agent. Working here is to cover up my real mission of protecting Evolvers around the world. S.T.F. are the ones that handled and hand out my missions." Tessa blinked then nodded.
"So that's what you were doing last week?" Tessa asked, and Gavin nodded.
"Yes, but I would like to know how you know?" He turned to Brooke only to discover she was gone like she'd just been an illusion. Gavin blinked, surprised and Tessa sighed. She hated it when Brooke pulled ninja crap like that.
"Don't worry," She said, gaining Gavin's attention. "Brooke isn't a spy or anything like that. Like I said last saturday, this use to be her life." Gavin blinked, still confused but the suspicion faded from his face. "What I find more concerning is Black Swan." Gavin nodded.
"Yes, it would seem the McHens were members." Tessa frowned. But why would Black Swan kill off their own members? What purpose did it serve them? Was it possible that Tony and Gabby knew too much or were planning something they disagreed with? The organisation was very strict and swift when it came to defending their beliefs. It's what made them so dangerous. Tessa sighed. What was even more troubling was the whole 'Queen' stuff and their focus on her. "If the McHens were members, it would mean you're in danger," Gavin said, and Tessa blinked at him. She'd forgotten about that.
"Don't worry. I'm more than capable of protecting myself." She smiled at Gavin. "I'm an evolver, like you, rememeber.?" She then winked at him and held up her wrist, which still had the ginkgo bracelet he'd given her around it. "And you can track me, right?" Gavin smiled at her.
"Yes. As long as your in the wind, I can feel you."
Tessa paced back and forth in front of her couch. Black Swan. Could they really be responsible for all the strange stuff happening around Loveland? If they were, then, they were planning something big. Tessa sighed. Looks like she had to report it in. Tessa moved over to her kitchen bench and pressed a small, disguised button under the counter. Suddenly, the polished marble surface had a split down the centre. Then it was breaking apart, the sides disappearing into the wall and a massive black screen raised up out of the counter. It lit up, and several, smaller screens emerged from it. The computer screens started displaying all kinds of different information that Tessa didn't take any notice off.
The main screen had a strange logo of a green rose with the letters JF in the centre of it. Tessa pressed the screen, and it changed to soundbars.
"Identify yourself." A female robotic voice asked.
"Agent P-4. Codename: Nasia. Recall Code: 0453." Tessa responded, sounding as if she'd done this a hundred times.
"Scan finger." The female voice asked, and a thumb scanner raised out of the counter. Tessa scanned her thumb, and it turned green at her accepted thumb scan. "Scan accepted. Welcome back, P-4."
"Thanks, Z.A.Y.D.A." A home screen showed up on the big screen, and Tessa quickly navigated it, finding the option she wanted quickly. "How has your mission been?" Z.A.Y.D.A's voice asked, and Tessa smiled at the AI's attempt at conversation.
"I'm making a report right now."
"Contacting T2 Weston." Z.A.Y.D.A's voice rung out and Tessa sighed. Figured she'd contact him. A call overcame the black computer screen.
"Thanks, Z.A.Y.D.A." Tessa muttered sarcastically, knowing the AI wouldn't hear her. The call went through and an aging man with grey hair, wrinkles and a horrible scar across his nose, misshaping the end of his lip, appeared on the screen. He looked pissed off like always.
"Agent P-4." He said, voice ruff and tone flat. Tessa rolled her eyes.
"T2 Weston." The man ignored her mocking tone.
"State your report." Tessa sighed. As much as she hated Weston, he needed to know what she'd discovered.
"Contact with the subject has been confirmed. The targets worked for the subject and were killed by them. No motive found yet."
"Not surprising. Black Swan isn't careless." Weston voice responded and Tessa bit back her retort. "What about this 'Queen' business?"
"Nothing to report. No leads have been found on the identity of the Queen." Weston nodded.
"And your evol?" Tessa sighed.
"Stable and functioning perfectly. No fluctuations or outbreaks." Which was true. Tessa's evol was very stable compared to Aria's. Weston nodded.
"Very well. Continue with your investigation and upload your report in full detail." Tessa nodded and went to end the call when Weston spoke up again. "And Agent P-4?"
"Tell your sisters to report in once in a while." Tessa flushed and nodded, ending the call. She wasn't surprised Aria, Nyla or Brooke weren't reporting in. They weren't the good little soldier Tessa was. Yes, Aria checked out the JF database regularly, and Nyla treated injured agents when necessary, but they weren't bowing down on their knees to JF. Brooke was the worse, Tessa didn't think she'd ever done a report in her life. Which was funny, considering her career literally consisted of writing. Tessa quickly typed up her report before logging off. The computer screens lowered back into the counter and closed over like nothing had happened.
She sighed and made her way over to her couch, flopping herself onto it. She seriously doubted this whole 'Queen' business and that car crash would just go away on their own. They were most likely ripples of a bigger and more dangerous wave Black Swan were planning. Well, whatever they were planning to do, Tessa would stop them. It was what she'd dedicated her life to doing. As a member of Jade Flower, it was her job to protect Evolvers and human's alike from the dangers they posed to each other and themselves. She didn't care if she died trying.
"So, you having nothing of value to report?" The Commanders' voice rang, throughout the room, and Gavin shook his head.
"I've confirmed that Black Swan's activity is increasing and that they were responsible for killing off Tony and Gabby McHens after they betrayed their location to us in that heist last month," Gavin confirmed, and the Commander huffed.
"Not surprising. They knew the risk of betrayal and yet went through with it anyway. Their deaths are their own fault." Gavin frowned at the man's tone but didn't question the man. "What about this Tessa?"
"I've told her of my position as an Evol Agent, and she didn't seem surprised at Black Swan's involvement, suggesting she already knew of them." While Gavin's face was indifferent on the outside, he was worried on the inside. Tessa's, as well as Brooke's, lack of shock or panic at the mention of Black Swan, told Gavin that they knew of the organisation. The Commander might have been right about who they worked for.
"I'd like for you to keep monitoring her and reporting back to me about it." This time, Gavin did frown.
"Is that really necessary?" The Commander glared at him.
"Yes. Just because she doesn't work for Black Swan does not devoid her of suspicion." The Commander looked away from Gavin, not allowing him to see the evil grin that crept onto his face. "I need to be absolutely sure of who she is."
"And who do you think she is?" Gavin asked, picking up on the strange tone to Leto's voice. The Commander turned back towards him, face indifferent, no trace of that smile a second before.
"A potential ally, of course." Gavin frowned but nodded. A second later, he was dismissed. Gavin wandered along the hall towards the garage where he kept his bike before stopping and heading towards the data information room instead. Once inside, he did a quick search of Loveland High School, focusing on his last year in high school. He needed to be entirely sure of his theory. He picked out an article and read the top.
'Local Orphanage Does Trial Enrollment at Loveland High School.'
He scrolled through the article before he landed on a picture, the sight making his heart race. He knew it. She was the same girl who'd helped him all those years ago. An all too familiar memory of golden ginkgo leaves, a grand piano and a girl singing flashed through his mind, and Gavin was absolutely certain. He had to protect Tessa at all costs...