Down in an unknown area in the depths of Zendria City, Imogen Ravenna sat quietly in the Onbri waiting room, her emerald eyes wandering over her notebook as she neatly jotted down her notes and ideas with a black-ink ballpoint. She glanced up at the counter, the man behind it tapping away on the computer in front of him, the blue light reflecting in his glasses. Imogen looked back down, shutting the book and sliding it into her small rucksack, listening to the faint noises around the underground secret headquarters and tapping a beat on her leg softly with her fingers.
The sliding doors to the left opened smoothly, and Samantha, one of the assistants, stepped out and met Imogen’s gaze.
“Agent 014, L.B will see you now.”
Imogen got up from her chair and walked with Samantha, engaging in discreet small talk as they approached the office, where Samantha scanned her hand on the reader and stepped to the side. They nodded at each other before Imogen walked inside the neutral themed room, standing behind a chair opposite L.B’s long, white desk. The chair behind it swivelled round, with L.B sitting purposefully on it, and she gestured for her to take a seat. She picked up a black folder and placed it in front of her, clasping her hands over it and smiling slightly at her.
“Agent 014. A pleasure, as always.”
“We have a new case that has just been requested to be investigated. That of one fairly well-known gang.” L.B opened the folder and flicked past the first couple of pages, her hazel eyes scanning the page.
“The Redd Smokes.”
Imogen nodded slowly, biting the inside of her lip as she thought. The Smokes did sound familiar - they were a gang located somewhere unknown in Zendria town.
“Are you familiar?”
“As you may know,” L.B started, nodding at her secretary and moving to the side as the screen behind her turned on, showing pictures of the known members, “each member has been staying somewhere unknown in Zendria, and pose a great threat to one of our allies’ security.”
Imogen nodded, watching as the slideshow dimmed, and L.B tugged some papers out of its plastic wallet and laid them face-down onto the folder.
“I am assigning you to gather as much information as you can about this Redd Smokes gang, by arranging for you to be staged as a psychiatrist at the Zendria Asylum. You see,” L.B linked her fingers together, leaning in a little, “their gang leader, known criminally as Shadow, and going by the name Oliver Austin, has recently been arrested and sent there. We may never get an opportunity as good as this again, and so you will be assigned as his therapist for a duration of six months. That should give you enough time to discover their details and whereabouts.”
Imogen swallowed down the lump in her throat and nodded. L.B smiled, pleased, and handed over the files of his arrest and stapled information sheets of her new identity. She slipped it into her bag.
“Samantha will provide you with the revision material for the works you may be carrying out with Oliver when you get there,” L.B said, standing up. “All recommended by Dr C Fredricks himself.”
“Yes, L.B,” Imogen said as confidently as she could manage, shaking her hand.
“Very good. Don’t worry, Imogen,” she said, sensing her hesitation, “I have seen your impressive work. You can most certainly handle and defend yourself. For now, study your books and your new identity. Here,” she said, taking a white envelope from her secretary and handing it over to Imogen, “is your proof of degree, resume, and files. Keep them safe.” L.B nodded at her, patting her on the shoulder as the sliding doors opened.
“Very good, Agent 014. I will see you again in six months. Dismissed.”
~ ✷ ~
“An assignment to Oliver Austin?!”
Imogen’s roommate, Amiah Trudy, exclaimed as Imogen told her, who worked mostly at home as a codebreaker and hacker for Onbri.
“THE Shadow? Damn, Imo, you’re brave for accepting that.”
Imogen shrugged, slumping down onto the wide white couch and opening her chocolate milkshake.
“Yeah, well, when you’re asked by L.B to do something you don’t really say no. Gotta admit though, I am pretty nervous. It’s a good job I studied psychology in college.”
“You’re going to be spending six months with a young psychopathic gang leader that’s killed dozens of people and you’re worried about psychology?”
Imogen rolled her eyes, smiling a little as Amiah sat opposite her, an eyebrow raised in disbelief.
“Come on, Amiah, I think I can handle myself.”
She thought back to her previous close calls and missions, the rush of it all and adventure still vivid in her memory.
“How exactly does L.B expect him to just carelessly throw all the info at you anyway?”
“Well, it takes time,” Imogen debated, “and you’ve got to be clever about it, obviously. But I’ve never turned down an assignment, and never been given one that she thought I couldn’t take care of.”
She smiled reassuringly at her curious friend and got her books out.
“When do you start then?”
“Next week, apparently. I get a tour around the place and hand in the fake identity and resume and stuff on Monday, then start the day after, in the early afternoon.”
Amiah nodded, getting up to go to her desk and switching on her computer.
“So what’s your new name?”
Imogen looked through her files, scanning the sheet.
“It’s Isabella Sara Jayden,” she read, judgment evident in her tone. “Well, it could be worse, I guess.”
“Good luck then Izzy, that’s not gonna confuse me in the mornings at all,” Amiah commented, smirking at her, “and by the way, I’m actually assigned to go somewhere next week too.”
“Oh really? What’s it about? Computer stuff?”
“Pretty much. Me and the other codebreakers are gonna meet some specialists and do a sort of workshop, I suppose. Hopefully, I get to improve in hacking, because if I get one more passed assignment then L.B might set me up on some higher-level stuff! I don’t know the exact duration, but I think it should be done in a month or so.”
“Well, I bet a load of things will have changed by the time you get back. I’ll be going crazy myself. Or I’ll have died.”
Amiah laughed, typing speedily on her keyboard. “I would say you’re being dramatic, but...” she grinned, focusing on the screen.
Imogen smirked, jotting down notes in her revision books, imagining herself in the asylum in a week’s time, casually talking to a psychotic gangsta for half a year.
“What could go wrong?” she thought to herself, before sighing and drinking down her milkshake.