Hannibal stopped in front of an office and knocked, even though the door was already open. A scruffy, burly looking man in a gray flannel suit and burgundy tie looked up from a stack of papers he had been reading.
The man beamed a smile. "Hank! Good to see you." He stood and came around the desk to shake Hannibal's hand. "And these are the kids you're babysitting, I presume?"
"Not a good idea to insult metahumans, Joe," said Hannibal firmly gripping Joe's hand. The team took their cues from Hannibal, and since he was smiling, they remained relaxed. "What's with the suit?"
"Didn't you hear? They retired me," said Joe. "I'm an ex-G.I. now. So they got me wearing this get up."
"It doesn't do a thing for you," said Hannibal.
Joe snorted derisively. "Tell me about it, but they're pretty strict about dress code around here."
Hannibal suddenly turned to his team as if just remembering that they were standing behind him. "This is Lt. Colonel Joseph Reed. He was the head of the explosives squad I was in before he got transferred, and I ended up with the job."
"You can drop the Lt. Colonel stuff," said Joe. "I'm a civilian, now. I'd rather you call me Joe, but since I'm your direct superior, Mr. Reed will do. Now, let me introduce you to your new teammate."
Joe Reed directed their attention to the corner of the office which was deep in shadow. At first they were confused since no one seemed to be there. Suddenly a human shaped shadow stepped out of the corner and into the center of the office. The shadow seemed to gain substance and brightened until it formed a young, dark skinned woman with close cropped hair.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Linda Braxton, codenamed Silhouette," said Joe by way of introduction.
Everyone seemed to be in a trance. They could scarcely believe what their eyes had shown them. Hannibal was the first to regain his composure. He held out a hand to Linda. "Miss Braxton, Welcome to the team."
Linda accepted Hannibal's hand gingerly. "Thank you, sir."
"A touch shy, isn't she," said Selina.
"Once she starts 'angin' out with you, that won't last long," said Frank with a chuckle.
Selina walked up to Linda and put her arm around the young woman's shoulder. Linda was completely taken aback by this sudden show of camaraderie. "I'm Selina Prince, and that's my sister Felina."
"Welcome to the team," said Felina.
"That's Cindy Berkowitz," continued Selina. "She's pretty cool for a White girl."
"Hey!" said Cindy placing her hands on her hips in mock indignation.
Linda was slightly worried at the racially laced comment until she saw Cindy's smile. No doubt it was a private joke among friends.
"The strapping young gentleman is Frank Griffin," said Selina. After a very pregnant pause she added, "Oh yeah, the old guy's Hannibal."
"Cute, Selina," said Hannibal shaking his head.
"Alright, all the introductions have all been made," said Joe without preamble. "Now scram. I got work to do."
"I'll catch you later, Joe," said Hannibal good naturedly. He turned to his team. "Let's find a conference room."
"You mean we've got a job already?" asked Cindy.
"Yeah, we just got us a new teammate," said Selina, "We need time to break her in."
"Sorry," said Hannibal, "that'll have to wait."
The team entered into a large, plush room with a medium sized, ovaloid table placed at its center. Six high backed chairs, upholstered in leather were placed around the table's perimeter. A manilla folder heavily laden with documents was placed at the head of the table. Hannibal took his place at the head and gestured for the rest of his team to join him. Felina and Selina sat in the chairs to Hannibal's immediate right. Cindy guided Linda to the seat to Hannibal's immediate left and sat in the chair beside her. Frank sat in the chair at the opposite end of the table.
Hannibal opened the folder in front of him and began passing out the documents. "What we have here is a search mission," he began. "One of our agents has apparently gone missing. Our job is to ascertain why he went missing and to bring him back, if possible."
"Hold on," interrupted Selina. "You mean they're sending us to fetch somebody? That's beneath us! Why can't they send one of the norm teams to locate this guy?"
Hannibal frowned at Selina. Right away she knew she had said something that was going to get her into deep trouble with Hannibal. She did her best to amend the situation. "I mean, how's what we do with our powers going to be of use in a search mission?" she asked more contritely.
"For one thing, it will allow us to find out what Linda can really do," said Hannibal with a cool, disapproving stare. At the mention of Linda's name, he offered her a quick glance and a smile. However, when he returned his gaze toward Selina, it was icy. Selina visibly shivered. She knew that she had really put her foot in it this time.
"Um...," she stammered, "I'll take point?"
"Generous of you to volunteer," commented Hannibal. "We'll need an agent of your obvious charms to ask around without raising suspicions."
Cindy, Frank and Felina did their best to maintain straight faces. Every so often, a snort would escape from Frank while a smile kept tugging hard at Felina's mouth. Selina burned hot with embarrassment.
Hannibal held up a photograph. "This is our subject."
Selina immediately forgot her transgression at the sight of the photograph. "Whoa, baby! Now that's what I call a hunk!"
"Now, aren't you glad you decided to take point," commented Felina with a smirk.
"'Ey," said Frank perking up a bit. "I know that bloke. We was in survival trainin' together."
Hannibal nodded. "This is agent Trevor Fate. Normally, he works out of Alexandria."
"You mean he's S.T.A.T?" asked Felina.
"No, he's NSA, actually," responded Hannibal, "but he's also a metahuman. The government designed type. He was apparently on assignment investigating a smuggling operation, but for some reason he cut off communications with the head office. We have to find out why."
"What's his ability?" asked Cindy.
"Phasing," said Hannibal.
"You mean passing through walls, that sort of thing?" asked Felina.
"Correct," said Hannibal.
"Where was he last stationed?" asked Linda. Everyone except Hannibal was startled by her question since, up until now, she hadn't uttered a word.
"Monument City, New York," answered Hannibal. "Pack your bags, people. We're flyin' coach this time."
Part 4 http://www.deviantart.com/view/7599657/