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Impossible Emblem

Solution to the Problem Job I

Disclaimer: Hell, I wish I owned FE.

So now this'll be more like normal chapters for this fic. Part with the Crew and part with the Detectives. Sometimes the story may move slowly, and sometimes it'll move very quickly. Just bear with me.

And note, that anyone could come back at any time. Example, unless character X is dead, he could jump back into the plot ten chapters later. You don't know how everything is connected. So watch for the tiny things…

Job #1: The Solution to the Problem

Part I

AnnamartAnna Cassidy

Anna yawned as she flipped the 'Open' sign to 'Closed' on the front door of her store. She was tired today, the con she had been recruited for took longer than she thought. Posing as a famous noble in order to steal a painting took a lot of work. And a lot of disguise. Being an Anna had its perks, but it had downfalls as well. Posing as an interested business party? Easy. Posing as a noble? Not so much.

Morgan had said Gaius had gone out for a walk…and he still wasn't back. It worried her a bit. Anna knew she shouldn't worry, her best friend had been a secret agent after all. And if they were anything like they were in movies, then he'd be okay.

Feeling reassured, Anna took a glance at the computer screen in front of her. She hadn't made much profit at all today, and that made her sad. Though the fresh five thousand gold note from the con raised her spirits somewhat. Some of her sisters frowned upon the art of conning, and some of her sisters encouraged it.

Anna heard the door open and she saw Gaius walk through looking very tired. He grinned none the less using his nickname for her, "Howdy Red."

"Where have you been?" Anna said with eyebrows raised. He didn't go take walks. He usually just ate candy.

"Getting ready," he shrugged and took a seat next to her behind the counter of the store. Gaius looked worn out, and not physically.

"For…?" Anna put a finger on her chin habitually.

"I've been recruited. Agent Gaius, reporting for duty. Back to being a SHEPHERD," Gaius chuckled weakly. Though he didn't seem altogether happy.

Anna was silent for a moment, then, "I thought you said being an agent would put me and Morgan in danger?"

What fake cheerfulness Gaius had had disappeared, "Well…it's going to get very dangerous in the world soon. There's someone…no, I can't talk about that now. But soon nowhere will be safe. So I used the Grifter and Thief spots in the team for you two." He tried to smirk.


Gaius took a deep breath, "You two are now agents. Huzzah?"

"I've always wanted to be a secret agent," Morgan exclaimed.

Gaius jumped up very startled. He went from sitting down to his feet in less than an instant. The thief scanned the room very quickly, "Where…?"

Morgan laughed and poked her head out from behind a book case, "You two don't look hard enough for eavesdroppers."

"Dammit," Gaius swore. "I need to be more careful. You could have been an assassin in some other situation." Anna was about to chuckle, but she saw the seriousness on Gaius' face and didn't.

"Back to the part about us being secret agents…?" Anna said with a neutral expression.

"It'll be like our cons, but on a, uh, slightly larger scale?" Gaius said with an attempt to diffuse the tension.

Anna didn't say anything. Gaius continued, "I made the agency agree to let me run a con with the team I created. If you hate it, just tell me and you won't have to continue."

"C'mon Aunt Anna?" Morgan asked. Well, begged was a better term.

"Morgan, don't call me aunt. It makes me feel old," Anna sighed. It could be an interesting profit opportunity. "And fine, I'll go along with this for now as long as I get paid. But I thought you hated it? Why are you back with them?"

"Well…let's just say…unfinished business," Gaius said evasively. He looked at the ground for a long moment, then he grinned, "I'll show you around the agency tomorrow. There are some things I need to pick up."

"They let you just show anyone the top secret SHEPHERD facility?" Morgan said eagerly. Anna couldn't help but smile slightly.

"They let me. I'm a very important person," Gaius grinned, his usual cockiness regained. Though this time Anna thought it might have been the truth.

AnnamartMorgan CassidyThe next day…

Morgan hated mornings. They were always cold, and the bright sun wasn't even warm yet. Honestly, no one liked mornings. Nobody at all in their right mind enjoyed the morning.

But today Morgan was going to see the headquarters of the YIA, the most famous secret agency in the world! Every little kid dreamt of being a cool secret agent. Morgan was one of those few who held onto that dream longer than most.

And now it was coming true.

She could hardly contain her excitement during the car ride. Gaius was driving. He always did, as he claimed to have taken the 'Tactical Driving Course' in his training. She never really believed it, but now…knowing that her Uncle G was a secret agent, it made a lot more sense. Morgan still couldn't believe Uncle G was part of the YIA!

Gaius parked Anna's bright red car on the edge of Ylisstol. It was an area that was formed more like a small town rather than the edge of one of the most populace cities in the world. Gesturing for them to get out, he walked into a plumbing store that was adjacent to the car he'd just parked. Morgan followed him, puzzled.

Upon entering the store, Gaius walked right up to the blue haired woman at the desk, "Howdy cupcake."

The woman looked up from what she was doing, "Well, I'll be damned." She brushed her blue hair out of her face, "Mr. Faraday is back. Wasn't expecting to ever see you again."

"Farina, you know as well as I do that I'd eventually be back," Gaius sighed with annoyance in his voice. But he immediately perked up, "Do you have any of those nifty guns you had for me a year ago?"

Farina nodded with a smirk, "But it'll still cost you. Custom guns aren't cheap. And ever since you pulled me into the agency, money hasn't been coming in like it used to."

Gaius snorted and gestured to the store's contents behind him, "You could have changed the store to something other than plumbing. Green wouldn't have killed you. He thinks plumbing is rather boring."

Farina rolled her eyes, "Changing it randomly would be suspicious, and you know it. And what else would I sell? I can't sell my guns in a store this big."

Gaius nodded as Farina turned towards Anna, "Ah! An Anna!" She held out her hand for Anna to shake, "I'm Farina Dale, I really admire the set up your family has. You must make sooooo much money!"

Anna shook her hand and blushed a bit, "Um, thanks?"

Farina laughed, "We'll skip the formalities Faraday. You know the way." She pointed toward the back of the store and clicked a button under her desk. Morgan heard a soft beep.

Gaius winked at her and motioned for the two redheads to follow him.

"Who was that?" Morgan asked.

"Farina Dale, an arms dealer. She was being hunted by someone a few years ago and I brought her in. Now she works for SHEPHERD," Gaius said as he came to a plain brown door in the back of the store. "Welcome to the YIA," he put his hand on the doorknob with a wide grin on his face.

"Er…what?" Anna said. Morgan silently agreed.

"Honestly, would you look for this place in a plumbing store? No, you wouldn't," Gaius flashed a smile at the two of them and popped a sucker into his mouth. He adjusted his headband so it was straight how he liked it. "You'll catch onto things like this. The Director is pretty big on inconspicuous."

The thief flung the door open to reveal a small room. Only one thing was in it, a strange sort of scanner on the wall. "Retinal scanner. Finger prints are easy to fake. Eyes are much harder," Gaius explained as he put his face up to it.

There was a faint noise, and a beep. To their left a door opened, well, more like two walls slid apart to reveal the way.

Morgan's eyes widened. She saw a large room, illuminated by many lights. The entire floor was either glass or some transparent material and the stairs that led up to the second level were of the same make. There were several people milling about doing whatever they were supposed to do, but it wasn't crowded. On the second level there were many doors with names written on them. Agents' offices, Morgan supposed.

A few desks littered the main entry way with computers and all sorts of high tech equipment that Morgan had no clue what they were for. A few people looked up to see who walked in, but they didn't pay them any more than a glance.

All in all, it was exactly the kind of thing Morgan pictured when she thought 'Secret Agent Base.'

Suddenly one of the doors flung open on the second floor. A giant man walked out, he was bald with bulging muscles and a dangerous face. A green haired man walked out behind him.

"We're handling it the best we can! I don't see you trying to help!" shouted the green haired man more than a little annoyed.

"The World Intelligence Agency has many things to take care of. Sterling is your problem," said the big man in a deep voice.

"Arturian, we should be helping each other. YIA and WIA together. We can catch him if we work together!" growled the other man.

"Gerrard, do your job," said Arturian. The giant man walked toward the three con artists presumably for the door.

Gaius jumped out of the way and to Morgan's surprise, snapped into a formal salute. "Hello sir, long time no see."

Arturian turned, "Faraday? Well, I guess Stefan does have the best on the case. Fix the problem quick."

"Will do sir!" Gaius said. And the big man continued on his way.

That was certainly out of character for Uncle G.

The giant man left and the green haired man walked down the stairs, "Ah! Gaius, I'm glad you're here. Henry and Cordelia told me the good news."

"Green, I'm only here to finish what we started. After that, I'm done. For good. And… oh right," Gaius turned toward his companions. "Anna, Morgan, this is Stefan Gerrard. He's the Director of the YIA. Green, I've told you about these two."

"How do you do?" Stefan said warmly.

Morgan decided she liked him and extended her hand for him to shake. Stefan smirked as he shook her hand, "You certainly raised a polite kid, Faraday. She's got a good handshake."

"She's not my kid…not exactly," Gaius mumbled and Stefan laughed.

"I suppose it goes without saying, but I should make this clear anyway," Stefan said. "You two know where this agency is now. If you tell anyone, we will find out and be forced to kill you." Stefan smiled apologetically, "Sorry, it's protocol."

Morgan's smile slid from her face and Anna muttered, "How fun." Gaius however, laughed.

The Director turned to Gaius, "The Hideout is ready. And your office is unlocked. Have fun. I've got to keep running around and directing." Stefan gave a wave and hurried off to somewhere else.

"Follow me," Gaius instructed and led them up the stairs. They walked a short ways down a hallway until they got to a door that had a metal plaque reading 'Gaius.' It was dusty.

Gaius glared at it and wiped the dust away, then opened the door and walked in. Morgan and Anna followed and looked around at Gaius' small office. There wasn't anything at all except a desk with a computer on it and one framed picture on the wall.

And of course, that was the first thing Morgan looked at. It was six people sitting on a car that was riddled with bullet holes. They were all smiling like idiots. She picked out Gaius with a sucker in his mouth more towards the back. Right in the front was the man she'd just met, Stefan. Next to him was the huge bald man that had Gaius' respect. And finally there was an Anna, someone she didn't know, and Prosecutor Virion.


"That picture brings back memories," Gaius said, looking at it nostalgically. The picture was covered with dust as well. This time, Gaius gently cleaned it off with his sweatshirt sleave.

Morgan looked at him with a look that demanded an explanation. Gaius gave her a wry smile, "Us six were the ones who ended the war seven years ago. Me, Ruffles, Green, Erk, Colby and Anna. Not your aunt," he chuckled.

"You ended the war seven years ago?" Morgan asked, wide eyed. That war was all anyone talked about these days. Especially seeing as it might get rekindled soon.

"That's confidential, squirt. Anywho, I got what I came here for," Gaius held up the computer. "Let's go."

Anna spoke up, "So that's what you were doing when you left?"

Gaius paused, "I left you eight years ago because I was recruited into the YIA. I couldn't tell you about it at the time, especially not the mission I was on. And once again, I apologize."

"We were friends Gaius. We'd been friends since we learned how to walk as kids. You could've told me," Ana said, slightly hurt.

"I wanted to Anna. I really did. But we were in a race against time and Green forbade me. But this time, we're at each other's sides. No need for lies or disappearances," Gaius walked over and gave Anna a hug.

Anna hugged him back and nodded, though Morgan couldn't quite read her expression. But it certainly looked like she was enjoying the hug.

YIA Plumbing StoreGaius Faraday

"Thanks Farina," Gaius said, putting the gun in its harness under his sweatshirt. The thief gave it an experimental secret agent 'Pull The Gun Out Of The Holster Quickly.'

"You be careful out there Faraday," Farina said with a slight grin. Then after a moment, "I wouldn't want to lose your business."

Laughing Gaius said, "I'll see you later, cupcake." And he walked out of the store. Ready to fight crime.

The HideoutGaius Faraday

The thief put the car in park. Gaius looked out of the red car at the small house. This was the place he always had his teams meet for planning.

It was a brick house on the edge of town. It had a nice green lawn with a wrought iron fence around its yard. It was the kind of house that was right next to the road and had moss and vines growing on the walls. The garage next to the house had three cars in the driveway. Anna's red car, a car Gaius recognized as Virion's and their black standard issue SHEPHERD van.

"What is this place?" Anna asked.

"Our Hideout. A SHEPHERD safehouse. Ready to meet the other members of the team?" Gaius began walking toward the door. He loved this house, many great memories.

The three walked in.

It was a modest house, the furniture was nothing fancy. And frankly, there wasn't anything that made it look like a YIA house. And that was the point. Well, there was the basement, but no one knew about that.

Except for the fact that there was a huge TV screen on the wall. Facing the screen were six bar stools, all connected like in an actual bar, table and all. Perfect for people to sit at and watch the screen, papers and such scattered about.

"Welcome to the Hideout," said a familiar voice.

Gaius turned his attention to Virion Chandler, who was sitting at one of the stools grinning, "Look whose back in the business. Long time no see Gaius! I have missed wooing the women without you!"

"You know I never flirted with any of your women you found. And nice trial earlier Ruffles," Gaius grinned.

Virion looked behind Gaius to see Morgan and Anna, "Ah, newcomers? Exquisite, we better hurry on with introductions then."

Gaius nodded and noticed for the first time Frederick Quinn and Lissa Caverly. The former was sitting as stoically as always and the latter was sitting nervously. "I think it'd be good if we all introduced ourselves, don't you think?" Gaius said. "I'll go first, my name is Gaius and I'm the Mastermind. I like candy and my favorite color is purple."

Virion nodded and continued as if this was standard protocol, "My name is Virion, and I'm the Observer. I'm a prosecutor and my favorite color is the fabulous blue."

Frederick rolled his eyes and said in his surprisingly not monotone, "I am Frederick, the Retrieval Specialist."

There was silence.

Then, "What's your favorite color?" Gaius asked seriously as if the future depended on it.

Frederick paused, "Black."

Gaius nodded, "Red, your turn."

"My name is Anna, and I'm the Grifter. My favorite color is red, obviously," Anna chuckled nervously. Virion smiled for encouragement.

Morgan went ahead without waiting for Gaius' okay, "My name is Morgan, and I'm the Thief! My favorite color is red too."

"Are these colors even necessary?" Frederick mumbled, a little bit annoyed.

"Quiet Freddy Bear, it's Princess' turn," Gaius said.

"Freddy Bear…?" Frederick said, irritated. The one other time Gaius had worked with Frederick he called him that nickname. And Fredrick hated it.

"I'm Lissa, and I'm the…Hacker? Is that right?" Lissa asked shyly.

Gaius nodded encouragingly, "Favorite color?"

"Yellow," she shrugged.

"Well, there we go! I bet we'll all be sweet friends," Gaius clapped his hands. "Now for-"

"Mr. Faraday?" Lissa said questioningly.

"Hmm?" He focused his attention on her. She was wearing a suit that didn't really match her personality.

"What exactly do all these jobs entail? Like what does a Mastermind do? Or a Hacker?" Lissa asked curiously.

"Idiot!" Gaius exclaimed. Seeing the look on Lissa's face, he shook his head, "No, not you, me. I forgot you're completely new to this. Alright, let's explain the jobs then."

Gaius pointed to Virion, "He's the Observer. He keeps an eye on us while we work the job. He's our weapons specialist too and the guy who sits on the rooftops and shoot people. You've seen movies. But me and him are usually the two watching out for the rest of you."

Next Gaius pointed to Frederick, "Freddy Bear beats people up. He's the Hitter, or Retrieval Specialist as the role is formally known as. You call him when we need to save someone. But he's good at kicking ass and beating up guards at the facilities we break into."

Gaius pointed at Anna with a slight smile, "Red is our Grifter. She fools people for a living. On any given day, Red could fool you into thinking she was a Valmese Duchess if she wanted to. But Red is the one who gains the mark's trust and convinces them to do what we want through all sorts of methods like Neuro Linguistics Reprogramming and the like."

Lissa raised her hand, "The…mark?"

"The mark is the target of the job. The person we're trying to con or kill," Frederick interjected. Gaius shot him a brief look and resumed.

"Morgan is our Thief. She sneaks in and out of air vents and the like. Stealing things is her game. Or sabotage. Whatever stealthy arts are needed."

Gaius pointed to Lissa, "Then there's you. You, Princess, hack into where ever we are and assume control. You control the cameras and security systems so we can go and slip in without anyone noticing. If there are laser detectors, you shut 'em off. If there are guards coming for us, you let us know. And you monitor the communications channel we're using in case someone is using our frequency."

"And you?" Lissa asked.

"I'm the Mastermind," Gaius said with a smirk. "I plan everything. And it's my job to fill in the gaps with our team. You'll figure it out as we go. Trust me." He winked.

Lissa nodded and Gaius looked everyone in the eye, "So who is ready to take down Miriel Avarige, CEO of Solution? Our first mark and job is stopping a corrupt business. Who's ready?"

YPD Conference RoomStahl Donivore

Stahl yawned as he stared at the muffin in the middle of the table. He wanted to reach for it, but currently his laziness outweighed his hunger for once. Thus was the state of boredom.

"Is this all we do? Sit around?" Legault said, irritated. He had been shifting in his seat for a long time now. Stahl was surprised he hadn't asked sooner.

"It's called being on standby," Stahl said. "We are the 'elite team.' It's our job to tackle the tough cases. And at the moment there aren't any."

But truthfully, it was quite boring. There was nothing happening that warranted the need of Stahl's team. It was another boring and usual day. So they sat around and did nothing. Well, Heather, Mia and Matthew Brooks sat around playing poker. And again, like usual, Matthew was winning.

Leila wasn't well enough yet to come back to work, it'd probably be a while before she was. But Stahl was glad he at least had Matthew back with the team. Matthew would be back to his talkative self once Leila returned.

Stahl's cellphone began to ring. Sighing, he answered it with a boring, "Hello?"

"Sir! We have a prisoner that has escaped!"

Stahl blinked a few times and unconsciously sat up straighter, "…Say that again."

"Detective Inspector, Sothe Walker escaped from the Ylisstol Prison!"

"…Find him. I don't care what you have to do, find him!" Stahl shouted into the phone. He hung it up and looked at the startled members of the team. "We've got a job to do." Legault had a triumphant expression on and a slight smirk.

Stahl burst out of the room, the general area of the precinct was already a flurry of activity. But it quieted down when the police chief came out of his office. Stahl turned respectively towards his superior.

Gregor Marshall walked right over to Stahl and nodded to him, "Gregor thinks this is your case, yes? Gregor thinks DI Donivore should take charge. Good use of your team, Gregor thinks." No one knew where Gregor's accent came from. But that didn't take away from the police chief's command. His accent practically demanded attention.

Stahl nodded, then turned to the rest of the precinct, "I want everyone to scan the CCTV footage down to the smallest bit. We cannot let the YPD be known as the police department that let a prisoner escape. Especially Sothe Walker. When you find a lead, call me. You're looking for any car he stole, or Walker himself. You do not rest until we find him. Is that clear!?"

"Yes sir!" and with that the precinct erupted into activity.

Stahl turned to his posse, "Let's move out."

"So what are we looking for, boss?" Mia asked from the back seat of the police car. She had to talk very loudly over the siren.

Stahl pressed on the gas and spoke equally as loud, "Sothe Walker. Age 32, green hair and tall. Menacing looking. Known connections with Robin Sterling, YIA's most wanted. Essentially, he's a terrorist. Albeit he's not. But when someone has connections with Robin Sterling, they're treated with the same threat level as a terrorist. But it is imperative we catch him. Especially since he used to be a detective."

"What did he do to go to jail? He was part of the force?" Heather asked to the right of Stahl in the front seat. Matthew and Legault were in another car following Stahl. Heather had insisted on going with Stahl. The Detecitve wasn't very fond of men, and Stahl and Matthew were the only two she had come to trust. Legault was not one of those two.

Stahl spared a brief glance toward Heather, "Do you know who Robin Sterling is?"

Heather and Mia both shook their heads and Stahl sighed, "To keep it short, he started the war between Plegia, Ylisse and Ferox. He's the most dangerous man alive. Any affiliates with him are considered extremely dangerous, no matter their crime. Sothe Walker was found in contact with him. Bribery and something akin to Sothe transporting something for Sterling."

Stahl's phone rang and Heather picked it up, "Did you find him?" Heather spoke with a detective's assurance. Stahl was proud.

Heather listened to whoever was on the other side, then nodded and turned to Stahl, "CCTV just picked up Walker stealing a car. Follow my directions. And turn left."

Stahl nodded and spun the wheel to the left. "We'll find you, you son of a bitch," Stahl muttered quietly.

The Streets of YlisstolSothe Walker

Sothe sprung the lock on the car door. He glanced inconspicuously around and climbed in once he determined his safety. After a quick hotwiring of the car, Sothe began his escape.

Thankfully he had the foresight to mug that man on the way and steal his clothes. A prison uniform would be far too conspicuous. But the suit of a normal business man was much commoner on the streets of Ylisstol.

Sothe's thoughts were stopped when he heard the familiar noise of a hammer being pulled back on a gun. Looking in his mirror, he saw a man in his back seat pointing a gun at him while reading a newspaper and holding a cup of coffee. Sothe's entire body went cold and he swallowed deeply.

"Keep driving Sothe Walker," the man said nonchalantly.

"H-how did you get in here?" Sothe said. He would have heard him! It wasn't possible-

"No one ever notices me," he said simply. The man took a sip of his drink, "But you'll have heard of me. My name is Kellam Anderson."

Sothe's hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, "Yes…I have heard of you." And that was not good at all.

Kellam nodded, "That'll make things easier. So I'll cut to the chase. Miriel Avarige hired me. She wants you brought to Solution headquarters."

Sothe realized he had been holding his breath. He exhaled, and said, "Can I just tell you what she wants and let you tell her what I said?"

Kellam looked up from his newspaper for the first time and met Sothe's eyes. It was cold, rather dead gaze, "Pay attention to the road Sothe."

Sothe glanced down from the mirror and jerked the steering wheel to the right to avoid a car. Adrenalin coursing through his veins, he glanced back to Kellam. The man had gone back to reading his paper.

"No. Miriel specifically wanted me to have you brought in," Kellam said as he turned a page. "I obey orders."

Sothe nodded absentmindedly as he began looking for an escape plan. Surely he could disarm Kellam and escape. Perhaps ramming the car for a distraction?

"I wouldn't do that," Kellam said.

"What?" Sothe jumped in his seat. Naga, was he nervous.

"Your muscles tensed. You were thinking of attacking me. But you should know that even if you get the gun away from me, there is a bomb under your car. The minute you try anything I can detonate it," Kellam said, meeting Sothe's eyes for a second time. It wasn't any more pleasant.

Sothe took a moment to find his voice, "But you'd die as well."

Kellam let out a bone chilling laugh, "Oh Mr. Walker, you think I couldn't escape? You truly don't know a thing about me."

Sothe did all he could to keep his composure. Only three things in life frightened him. Death, Robin Sterling and now Kellam Anderson.

"To Solution then? Can you at least tell me why Miriel wants me?" Sothe asked.

Kellam yawned and flipped the page again, "I think it has to do with the Plegian faction Miriel is affiliated with. You know, the one that plans to release some disease into the public of Ylisse to weaken them and frame Ferox. And apparently you know where Sterling is keeping it."

"Sterling has style when he makes his move. Miriel has to rely on him to even try to make it work. She doesn't deserve his help or mine," Sothe said with irritation.

Kellam chuckled, "You stupid people. Thinking that killing so many people will solve your problems. There is no style to killing hundreds of people at once. I may be a hired assassin, but I will have to agree that SHEPHERD, HBI, WIA, they all have the right state of mind for this problem. Sterling has his own agenda. And he doesn't care about you."

"You're wrong," Sothe said with conviction. "Sterling knows the right course of action."

Kellam shook his head, "You're like a stubborn child. I hope you die quite painfully."

Author Note: This will be more of the pacing of normal chapters. One group might be boring, the other more exciting. But chapters will usually focus more on the Crew rather than the Detectives. So huzzah to the first of our many plots in this fic!

In case you didn't know, CCTV cameras are those cameras on top of buildings that watch everything that goes on in public. Police have had a history of using them to find and stop criminals.

I apologize if I butchered Gregor's accent. I've never wrote him before. Don't hurt me.

I tried to make the whole introducing the various as interesting as possible. I kept it shorter than it could have been because you'll realize just how exactly everyone works through reading further when I actually get to the jobs and such. (Psst! That means next chapter!)

Miriel's last name is a bit of a joke. If you pronounce it right, it sounds like 'Average.' Which she clearly is not.

"You only live twice: Once when you're born, and once when you look death in the face."

-James Bond

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