Connecting Outside the Network - Deus Ex HR

Chapter 24

Several months later

Freya turned in bed, ignoring the alarm going off in her head after she had activated the snooze function three or four times in a row. She’d been up all night at the office tracking down signals from augments being sold on the black market in Brazil and had only returned to the apartment a few hours earlier. It was already beginning to be light out when she had fallen limply into bed around three or four in the morning.

Wait, what time is it?

Panicked, she sat up abruptly and found the wall clock. It was just past 9. Shit, shit…

Rolling rapidly out of bed, she showered as fast as humanly possible, threw on her work clothes, and caught the next subway train to Manchester. She had missed her normal train by an hour and a half. Still shaking off her initial fatigue, she rubbed her eyes drowsily and pulled her brown hair tightly with an elastic hair tie. When she exited the station near the Museum of Science and Industry, she raced a block westward to her destination – Interpol Manchester HQ.

Freya entered the lobby, passing hastily over the Interpol seal embossed in the linoleum floor and nodding to the front desk security guard. The heavy set African American man chuckled, having seen this scene unfold numerous times in the past. In the beginning she’d struggled with getting used to the bus and metro system, and then her erratic schedule. They were giving her more freedom to work from home, but in a way that made it worse for her on the days she did have to be at her desk in person. The wood paneled elevator doors had just opened ahead of her and one of her newer work colleagues stepped in to hold the door for her.

“Late again, Pritchard?” asked the blond woman, dressed neatly in a light grey pantsuit and clutching a briefcase across her hips.

“Thanks,” Freya said quickly, glad to stand still and catch some air as the elevator shot upwards. She glanced at the buttons and saw number five was already pressed. “Can you hit floor seven for me, Angie?”

“Going to see the boss?” she asked knowingly, pushing the plastic square which promptly lit up.

“I have a lot of intel from last night to discuss with him,” Freya said, still breathing heavily.

“I’ve got a boring meeting…” Angie said, tilting her head and blowing a stray strand of hair out of her face. Suddenly an excited look crossed her face. “So what’s the deal with that scary guy you hang out with all the time?” The elevator was drawing to a slow stop as it hit the third floor.

“Who do you mean?” Freya asked, figuring she knew who she meant but wanting to hear Angie say it.

“You know, that – oh, good morning sir.” Freya’s coworker stepped back awkwardly to make room for the tall man in a dark trench coat who stepped through the sliding elevator doors. He leaned against the wall close to Freya, a knowing grin on his bearded face.

“Did I…interrupt something?” he asked in his usual low gravelly voice.

Freya stifled a chuckle, “No, but you’re in trouble.”

“Why?” His dark augmented optical shades somewhat hid his expression, but she saw the teasing look underneath.

“You let me sleep in. Again!” Freya nudged him playfully.

“I can’t help it…I know what you’re like when you don’t get enough rest,” he raised an eyebrow and turned to acknowledge the other person in the space with them, his face falling serious again.

“Angie, you know Adam Jensen,” Freya formally introduced them. She shook his augmented hand nervously and looked relieved when the doors opened on the fifth floor.

Now alone, Adam asked, “So what were you talking about before I came in?”

“Nothing much, just some people are still… a little uneasy around you,” she said, stating something he already knew. He leaned back against the railing, unconcerned.

“They’ll just have to get used to it. It’s not like I’m the only Aug in the building…” Jensen said, somewhat annoyed. “You finish that trace last night?”

“Yeah. I’m just now going to brief Mr. Rutherford. There’s a good chance you’ll be sent out today.”

“Where’d you pin them down?”

“Sao Paolo,” she said, the elevator chime letting them know they’d reached the seventh floor. Sighing, she said, “Well, that’s me. I’ll catch up to you at lunch, if you have time.”

He smiled and kissed her gently, his fingers weaving through her tightly restrained hair. As their lips parted, she attempted to fix her now mussed up ponytail before her meeting with the boss. Adam grinned looking after her and pressed for his floor as the doors closed. Neither of them had heard from Janus in months, but Interpol was treating them exceptionally well. He had not enjoyed his work so much since he was in SWAT, and no one here knew or cared about that part of his past. Freya was enjoying herself too, since the work was challenging and varied. Smiling inwardly, he reflected briefly on their good fortune before his thoughts were interrupted by his reaching his building level. The moment the doors opened, one of the men on his team rushed to meet him.

“Chief, thank god you’re here, we just got word that a group of radicals is preparing to bomb a biotech firm in Cologne. We’ll be briefed en route,” the Irish man said rapidly, his face wreaked with obvious urgency. For a moment the accent reminded Jensen of Anton, but he pushed it aside.

“We better get going then.” Adam commed the rest of the team and they headed up to the helipad. Best part of the job – never a dull moment.

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