“OK,” rumbled the big man, “What do you need?”
“We’d like a place to work from, somewhere private where we won’t be disturbed – preferably with an internet connection.”
Mr Teeth produced a small note book and began writing. “Anything else?”
“That’s it for now, but we might need an extra car later, maybe if that’s alright.”
“OK, then,” Mr teeth said, tearing a page out of the notebook and holding it out to Mercury, “Go to this address, It’s my own place and it’s plenty big enough for all of us. Now I have some business to attend to, so I’ll meet you there when I’m done in about an hour. Key’s in a plastic bag in the pond – look for the mermaid statue.”
“OK ,” said Mercury , “and thanks, your help is much appreciated.”
Mr Teeth grunted acknowledgement and left.
“So, not only are we working with demons, we’ve taken up with criminals now as well?” India had been against accepting Mr Teeth’s help from the start
“Agent India,” said Mercury. There was just a hint of a snap in his voice and his use of her formal title caused her mouth to shut with an almost audible snap. “We’ve been through this and, as squad leader, I am making this decision and I will take responsibility for it.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes. “Look, we’re all still tired. Let’s get packed up and get out of here as soon as we can.”
“Ooh, I think your charm must be working at last, old sock,” whispered Teatime gleefully, “You apparently rank slightly above the local criminal fraternity now – a step up, if I’m any judge.”
“Well, it had to happen sooner or later,” grinned Harold. “What with me being so irresistible and all.”
Dr Evangeline Flowers quickly scanned the document Haynes was holding out to her and scrawled her signature on the bottom. She sighed as he took the clipboard back and walked away. Was this what her life had come to? Scribbling on documents and organising the movement of boxes, crates and tanks?
It hadn’t always been like this, of course. She’d never been a ‘sugar and spice, all things nice’ kind of girl – had only ever wanted to be a neurosurgeon like her beloved father. She’d done well enough at med school to get an internship in a good teaching hospital – she’d even made Resident there and was looking at Attending in a couple of years, hospital politics permitting.
Then she’d slipped over on – of all the stupid things - some mixed nuts she’d spilt in her own kitchen, and had broken her arm, broken it badly enough to cause permanent nerve damage, leaving her right hand just a bit less sensitive and precise than the left. Not a big injury and, for anyone else, not even an inconvenience, really, but it was an earthquake of magnitude ten toppling the bricks and mortar of her ambition. Unable to bear the thought of having to start over in some other specialism, she’d turned to research. She’d done well at that too, and had found it fascinating in its own way - there were, after all, still plenty of diseases out there that needed to be conquered or at least understood properly.
She hadn’t been able to believe her luck when she’d got the call. Her own lab, her own staff and a budget she’d only been able to dream of before. All this to do pure research into why certain people had certain abilities and how they might be replicated technologically. That’s what they had told her, anyway.
And it was sort of true, she supposed. She cast a practised eye over the row of blinking lights on the side of tank three – all nominal.
Only the ’people’ hadn’t exactly been people.