The Gifted

James Bryson: Personal Journal 2

October 30, 2011 – James

James sat staring at the data on the screen, scant as it was, running through it once more. Out of the information in Isabella’s file, her powers list stuck out:

Confirmed Powers:
- Ability to affect emotions
- Ability to control perceptions of reality
- Ability to charm and control animals and weaker minded humans
- Ability to implant ideas and false memories into a target’s mind

“Control perceptions of reality?” It was spelled out so simply that it could almost be absurd, if it weren’t so frightening. It brought to mind the Beast the team had encountered in Japan—-such a thing shouldn’t exist. Lucy had said that the name given to the Beast was Murus…but that didn’t quite feel right. When James heard that name, he got the unmistakable sense that some forgotten part of himself was being shaken awake from a long slumber. Equally troubling was the apparent connection between the Beast and Isabella.

On the roof, high above, the woman from the plaza, “Veronica”; behind her, another woman, bent low to pet the curled form of an enormous furred beast. The Beast.
“Veronica”—-let’s call her “Isabella,” now—-Isabella caught his eye. James’ eye. A slight smile on her face, inscrutable. Joy? Satisfaction? Comprehension? They disappear from view.

The last week of down time should have been useful, hours of research should have turned up something useful. Instead, nothing. Either there was nothing to find, or someone was working very hard to hide it; it wasn’t hard to guess which was the more likely scenario.

The rain beat hard on the panes of James’ window. A harder, rhythmic tapping in the midst of the deluge drew James’ attention from his typing; glancing up, he caught sight of a face in the window, a woman’s face.

Wrong. New Mexico. 10pm. A chilly but clear 43 degrees. Isabella, research. This is today; the rain was a long time ago.

Rain pounded the windshield, headed west on the 2, trans-Canada highway. Up ahead, the double-trailer transport’s brake lights flashed on; Mom leaned into the brake, and put her hand back on the shifter.

Wrong again.
Not close to right. This is home, apartment; that was the drive, the last drive. It wasn’t raining then—-why was he thinking about rain?
Then again, it was surprising that James could remember that day at all.
He and the Agency both had worked very hard to keep those memories from his mind. Painful memories. Pounding. Beating. The rain, that is.
And something else pounding, too.
Something in his head, dangerously close to the surface. Who could say what would happen if it broke through?

James closed the file; maybe soon he would have something to add to it. He knew that he ought to hope for the exact opposite, ought to hope never to see Isabella—-or the beast—-ever again. He had never been very good at following his own advice.

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Fenn's Report for the Roswell Case
Finding The Pusher

Special Agent Fenn
Field Teams Handler
August 14th, 2011

Case: US-NM-08142011A
Location: Roswell, New Mexico, United States of America
Field Team: Investigation Team Delta, Department-7

Case Summary:
Roswell Police discovered the body of a young woman on August 1st, 2011. Due to certain details of the scene and the state of her body, it was clear that she was the fourth victim of a serial killer who had killed three other girls in the last two years. Detective Jason Weber had been part of the investigation from the first body, and alerted the FBI to case in hopes he could gain their help. The FBI looked into the case and found key details of the case and autopsy to be clues that a Gifted might be involved. They then passed the case onto us, and Investigation Team Delta was assigned to assist Detective Weber. The Oracle Department was able to come up with some limited information, but not enough to solve the case.

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James Bryson: Personal Journal

New Mexico

This Rhodes girl is turning out to be even more of a handful than I expected; then again, the team as a whole still has some kinks to work out. The last couple of cases we were assigned were easy. Too easy. I get the feeling they may have instilled us with a false sense of confidence—-from here on out, we can’t afford to make mistakes like the ones we’ve been making.

I can’t afford to make mistakes like the ones I’ve been making.

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Director Fenn's debriefing/briefing

I first want to congratulate you all for the great job you did in keeping Riley safe. We realized after the fact that the reason why the Oracle division couldn’t get their details straight was the number of unrelated parties involved. Because you were able to handle that situation expertly and adapt easily to the changing danger, the agency as a whole trusts you a bit a more, and you will see more prestigious assignments in the future.

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The Dazzler Part II
Trouble Backstage

An hour later Ben and his men had the backstage clear and secure. Ben had mostly stayed near or in the greenroom while radioing out commands to his crew. Acroyear sensed something was off about him though, and mentioned this to James.

“I don’t think we can trust anyone,” James agreed with him. Ben kept studying them, watching them as they waited with Riley. The team was going to just walk Riley out once she was with them, and he had been adamant about letting his men clear the backstage.

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The Dazzler

The team had been assigned to a case in Roswell, New Mexico, and the plane had barely landed in the small airport there when the call came in from the team’s assigned manager, Special Agent Fenn. A call from him was never a good thing, as managers normally did their best to let the field agents do their job. It was less messy that way, and it allowed the manager to blame it on the agents if things went pearshaped.

“Get back on that plane now, your headed for Denver,” was all he said before hanging up. Fenn was good like that, always to the point and no fluff. So the team climbed back onto the plane they had just stepped off of. It was a nice, small jet with comfortable seats and plenty of leg room, but having to climb back on right after spending a few hours in it was still a little painful.

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