Upon entering, Sebastien Richards, Head of Security, tore down the flight of stairs that led from the main entrance to the conference table. The table was situated in front of the huge ceiling to floor windows, and it was in the shape of an almost oval. A chair was situated at the head of the table, while twelve other chairs flanked the table, six on each side. The other end of the table was left chairless.
Eight of those chairs were occupied. The first chair to the left hand of the head was occupied by a young woman. Dressed in a turtleneck, jeans and a white knee-length lab coat, Regan Saoirse Fleming, the Head of the Forensic/Science Department, was a very attractive lady, despite her young age. It was rumored she had an IQ of 200, along with multiple degrees at the age of fifteen.
Her bulky clothes hid the shape of her 18 year old body, and she always wore long sleeves and high-necked collars. She like to cover as much of herself as she could. Her auburn hair was a riotous cascade that curled over her shoulders, the warm colour at odds with her usually sour expression - Regan rarely smiled.
Beside her was Milo Selwyn, Regan's assistant in basically everything, and the Exodus' resident historian. He was tall, with a slight accent. When he wasn't spending his time helping Regan or reading in the library, he could always be seen chatting to his archaelogist cousin via Skype.
On Milo's right was Cassius 'Cash' James, the infamous womanizer and Head of the Technical Department. There was a bet going on how long will it take Cash's current girlfriend to find out that he once slept with her sisters, best friend and cousin.
In the meanwhile, Joaquin Colton, Senior Investigator, sat beside Cash. Everyone seated knew of Joaquin's fighting abilities. It was said that Joaquin was a champion boxer when he served in the Marine Corp prior to his recruitment by the Exodus.
Peter Hamlet, Lead Investigator, sat opposite Regan, next to Branwyn Colton, Joaquin's sister, who was one of the best computer hackers on the team. Beside her was Mikayla James, Cash's cousin, and Kirsten Scott, the resident medical doctor.
'Eh-up,' Peter said with a fake Cockney accent. 'Late for a meeting you called, Sebastien? That's not polite.'
'Shut up,' Sebastien growled, slipping into the seat beside Kirsten. 'I called the meeting because something's come up.' Placing his PDA on the table in front of him, he activated his laser keyboard with a touch of a button. In front of them, the huge windows blacked out, and a screen lowered from the ceiling, images thrown all over via a ceiling-mounted projector connected to Sebastien's PDA as someone dimmed the lights.
Milo raised an attention eyebrow. 'And we are looking at...?'
'A casefile from Cairo,' Sebastien said importantly. 'Murder-suicide. Problem is,' he waited to gauge their reaction. 'They think it's the other way around.'
Kirsten nodded. 'Professional hitman, maybe? This crime scene looks too...clean to be a normal run-of-the-mile murder. What do you think Regan?' Everyone turned to the Head of Foresic/Science Department, acknowledging her status of second-in-command.
To a boss whom I have no idea of his identity, Regan thought ruefully, toying with the pendant she wore, which was of an eagle resting on a wreath of laurel leaves, wings outstretched, as if it had been flying mid air when someone took a picture of it and made it into a pendant. It had been a gift from a friend who knew her habit of running away when the going got too tough for even her to handle. She even remembered the words he'd say when he gave it to her: To remind Saoirse that she's free.
That same phrase was engraved on the back of the wreath in a stylish Gaelic script. It was quite ironic, considering that her middle name, Saoirse, meant "freedom" in Irish while she herself was a runner. But to get back to the story....
She didn't even know why she was offered the job in the first place. It was random. One day she opened an envelope with a request for her to take the position as the Head of the Forensic/Science Department in a top secret international organization known as the Exodus.
She then realized that everyone was silently awaiting her command. She rubbed her temples. 'How gory is it, Sea Bass?' Sebastien frowned at the use of the nickname, but kept his peace only because it was her. 'Well, you remember the '97 incident?' Everyone winced slightly at the incident. Three families from Cuba launched a mass attack on each other. When the even was over, the place looked like a war site for WWII.
'Yeah,' Sebastien nodded gravely. 'This is much gorier.'
'Brilliant,' Cash commented. 'The gorier the case, the better. I'll take it.'
Everyone listened carefully as Sebastien continued to outline the case.
Everyone except Regan, who said nothing as she thought for the thousandth time, Who was she working for?
He sat down on his chair, looking at a photograph in his hand. It was of a younger him and a younger her - the one person he'd ever loved, and the only one he'd love until the day he died. Dressed in a simple shirt and jeans, he smiled. He remembered that he taught her how to shoot - or rather, she blackmailed him into teaching her. He remembered the times they'd argue so. There was fire in his eyes as he yelled at her, and ice in hers as she responded – and once more the result was not water.
He remembered of the promises they each made to each other. Both lied to hide their pain, both hated it when the other did so, and so they compromised: protect each other, and there would be no pain to lie about.
He smiled, and he remembered.
And Timothy Leonardo Hector Marsden, or Tadhg, as she called him, looked at the photograph as he traced the pendant the girl was wearing, the one of an eagle resting on a crown of laurel leaves. Until now, he still remembered what he told her: To remind Saoirse she's free.
Yes, he was the one who gave her that pendant. He gave it to the one he loved the most.
And that one is, and always will be, Regan Saoirse Fleming.
Or, using his nickname for her, his little Seiris.
The Irish word for "sherry", his comfort drink.
That, she somehow, at the age of eight, managed to get him hooked on it.