Aglaya woke to a faint beeping sound. She couldn’t place it at first, and was reluctant to open her eyes, it didn’t sound like her alarm. She groaned and tried to roll over but bumped into the arm of the bed and her eyes shot open, this wasn’t her bed. She sat up and before she could even take in the enormity of the room she was in, a visitor appeared. The woman smiled at her. “Oh good, you’re awake Ms. Lyednika…”

“Solomon.” Aglaya croaked. Her mouth was dry like she hadn’t had anything to drink for a week. She squinted at her guest, she knew this woman from somewhere.

“Hrm?” She asked.

“My name. Aglaya Solomon. I haven’t used Lyednika since I came to Praetoria.”

“Oh, of course.” The woman pulled out her nPad, made a note, put it away and pushed a lock of her short brown hair out of her eyes.

“You’re Tami Baker. Praetor Sinclair’s assistant.” Aglaya suddenly remembered.

The woman beamed at her. “Very good, we were afraid your memory would be impaired from the surgery.”

Aglaya blinked and her hand shot to her head. There didn’t seem to be any marks… and her hair was all there. “Surgery?”

“Oh they did it la… lap… lapros…” She bit her lip, sighed and then started again. “They did it with minimum invasion.”

“Ah.” Damn her mouth was dry. “Water?”

“Oh! How rude of me… of course!” Tami went to what looked like a minibar and took out a 32oz cup with a straw and filled it first with ice and then with water. “Here you go…”

Aglaya took a long pull from the straw and then acknowledged Tami again. “What did I need surgery for?”

“Justin… I mean Praetor Sinclair values his employees very highly, and after the incident with the Syndicate trying to mind control you and everything… WELL! We couldn’t have something like that happen again to such a valuable asset, so you are now fitted with a state of the art psionic dampener.”

“Don’t they use those in Seers?”

“Yes, and this is the LATEST model, it even hides you from other psychics.”

“I can’t afford that…” Aglaya looked around the fancy room, it looked more like a hotel room then a hospital. “I can’t afford any of this.”

“Oh don’t worry about that! No expense was spared! Praetor Sinclair’s orders!”

Aglaya frowned. She didn’t trust the Praetor, not after what she had found out before she arrested Belladonna Vetrano. The man was up to something, and now he probably owned her with the thing that he had put in her head.

“Now now, turn that frown upside down! The Praetor has big plans for you Aglaya!”

Aglaya faked a smile. “Uh… thanks I guess Tami.”

“You’re very welcome.”  Tami gave her another award winning smile and then took out her nPad again. “Oh, some things came for you while you were sleeping, I’ll have them brought in… and it looks like they want to monitor your brain for another few days before they discharge you. I’ll put you in for an appointment with Justin on Friday.”

“Friday? Today’s Wednesday?” Aglaya swore in Russian. “But they ambushed me on Thursday, I’ve been out a week?”

“Mhm… thirteen days actually. They kept you in a medically induced coma until they knew the tissue around the implant was healed.”

“But… the think tank… and the mole!”

Tami gave her a giant grin as if there was something funny about what she said. “Justin said you might be worried about that. But no need! Carrie Hickman was the mole, and you killed her when she tried to use her mind control on you.”

Aglaya stared at Tami and then took another long drink of water. “I guess that’s all the questions I have for now… Is my bag here?”

Tami nodded. “I’ll have it brought in with the flowers, cards and chocolates.”

“Bolshoi. My laptop is in there. I’d like to get caught up with the news.”

Ms. Baker nodded, made a few notes on her nPad and excused herself. Some orderlies brought in a huge bouquet of flowers, some chocolates, a white unicorn with purple mane and tail and sparkling blue diamonds on the flank with some balloons and a thick pile of cards along with her messenger back containing her precious laptop.

Aglaya stared at the unicorn for a bit and read the card. “From all of us at the Sinclair Building, Hoping you Get Well Soon.”  She tilted her head and smiled. “Wouldn’t have taken Tami for the Saturday morning cartoon type… could be an accident… but its nice to think something cute of her like that.” She turned her attention to the other presents. There were several cards from different members of Powers Division that she had either helped or had on her team at some point or another. She skimmed them and then turned her attention to the chocolates. They were top of the line gourmet, imported from New Switzerland. She let out a little laugh. They were from Kitashi, and the card sported a little Japanese haiku that promised that they were free as long as she told Kit which kind she liked best. She slid open the box and sampled them all and decided that the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Truffle was her favorite. Grinning she found her phone in the pocket of her bag and hit Kit’s speed dial to tell her, and then started looking at the bouquet.

It was breathtakingly beautiful. Deep purple irises fringed it, with fragrant purple lilacs making up the bulk, with sprigs of fragile looking pink cherry blossoms, mauve hibiscus,  lavender roses and pink near-white peony in the center. She reached for the card as she got Kit’s voicemail then glanced at the time. “Funny, she should be answering. Oh well. Maybe she’s in a session with her Izumi-sensei or Yuki-sensei.” She blinked as she read the card, admiring the elegant calligraphy. “To the Beautiful Aglaya, from Yuki Inaba.” Her heart skipped a beat.  Yuki Inaba… was it the same Yuki? She put the card back with the flowers and reached for her laptop.

Two minutes later she was staring at a picture of Yuki Inaba, the woman that had saved her at the supermarket as TPN interviewed her in the aftermath. Five minutes later she was speed reading old news articles off the TPN site detailing the Powers Division exploits of one Yuki Inaba and Izumi Arashi. Another ten minutes later she was logged into the Sinclair Building server reading intelligence reports on the duo, unconsciously smiling as the thrill of the chase sang within her veins.

Within another half hour she (with much enthusiasm and glee) found she had access a set of surveillance cameras that were set up in the penthouse of the New Peninsula Hotel in Imperial City where they had been staying. Hours passed as she watched several months worth of footage on fast forward, drinking in every moment they captured of her guardian angel. She found herself blushing, yet empowered as she got to the final camera, one hidden in the shower head. She rewound the portion capturing Yuki and the one that seemed to be Izumi Arashi together in the shower. It was wish fulfilment at its best for the lonely Russian girl. If the Japanese women  had something together, perhaps there had been promise in the kiss her heroine had blessed her with after all. She saved a copy of the video to her hard drive for safe keeping and was practically glowing when she suddenly stopped cold she got to the more recent footage and then rewound, paying close attention to time stamps.

No! The penthouse had been empty for at least two days. She went back further and watched Izumi, Yuki, Kitashi, and Tiffany Powers packing. Tiffany she had met one time when she was working with Kitashi… she had sent a get well card as well. Aglaya nearly flew back over to the pile of cards. That one had been mailed three days ago… the card with Kitashi’s chocolates was dated four. The flowers were fresh, they had to have been sent within the last two days. Aglaya drummed her fingers on her laptop and then cracked her knuckles and took in a deep breath to keep herself from hyperventilating. Wait. Time out. She rewatched the last week worth of video again. What was Kitashi doing in their hotel room anyway? She had popped up now and again in the earlier videos but in the last week of footage she was at the suite constantly.

The color drained from her face as she paused her internet stalking of Yuki and ran a search on Kitashi. Ichiro Ishikawa had been taken out by a rival faction of the Syndicate the Monday after Hickman had gone after her. According to TPN, Kitashi’s whereabouts were unknown. NPPD had her on traffic cams heading to the transit station. Transit cams then had momentary static when she entered the building. Focus. You know where she went. Izumi Arashi, the mysterious fox woman had taken her. Further to the point, all four of them had left Imperial City. Where had they gone?

“Maybe… browser histories?” she mused. An hour and a few hundred websites later and she had no more answers, but was filled with hope again. Included in Yuki’s last few viewed pages was something called the Language of Flowers. She giggled girlishly and traced the surface of one of the lavender roses. There was a subtle message for her within the assortment, and her her heart felt like it was going to burst with the joy it brought her. Unfortunately the rest of the browser histories had shown no light on where they might have gone. Though it did amuse her that Kit managed to get from “cute kitten pictures” to “sake alcohol content” in under five clicks.

Aglaya closed her eyes for a moment and then clicked her tongue with excitement as a new idea came upon her.  GPS tracking in the nPhone… if she could hack the network… YES! She was in just before the nurse brought in her supper. She sucked on her spoon and stared at the tracking data.

“What the FUCK is under Keyes Island, and why the HELL did they just disappear after they went there?”


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