Not enough hours in the day, thought Steven as he made his way through the Sanctum. He threaded his way past white-suited techs and agents to a conference room. Alyssa was already present, as was Agent Casteneda. On the wall, various faces of important people waited.
“Thank you all for waiting. We’ll go ahead and get started.” Steven tapped a few keys on the touchscreen controls. The table computer responded and threw the profiles of the agents in question up on the wall.
“I’ll cut right to the chase,” Alyssa started. “We have completely lost contact with them. They disappeared several days ago. Their communicators are offline and we’ve been unable to contact them through other means.”
“Agent Mason,” one of the faces asked, “how can several OUA heroes just disappear? Shouldn’t have they checked in by now?”
“Should, yes. They haven’t. As to your question, sir, as you know, heroes have disappeared before.”
“Agent Rodgers,” another face spoke up, “what was their status before they vanished?”
“They were investigating a cabal of mutagenics, the…,” he struggled to remember the word, “Kaimeringian, I think.”
“Have they been taken into custody?”
“Yes, surprisingly. Agent Casteneda has been in charge of that operation, but most of them are being questioned below.”
“Agent Casteneda, have any of these Kaimeringian confessed to where the agents in question are?”
“We’ve gotten several accounts of them being ‘taken to Hell.’ We haven’t deciphered any more than that. Any geographical location is still being determined.”
“Agent Rodgers,” the most important of the faces began, “this is very distressing. Seven of the OUA’s rising stars, heroes that you’ve vouched for, have disappeared. We’ve invested many resources and skirted quite a few guidelines to bring these heroes up to Beta rank. Now we don’t know where they are. What are you planning to-”
“Agent Rodgers, " one of the operators broke in on the conference call, “there’s an urgent call for you.”
“Operator, unless it is of the most monumental importance, it can-”
“Sir, it’s them.”
Agent Rodgers stopped in mid-sentance and stared about the room. The surprise on the faces around him assured him he had not misheard.
“Link them in, Operator.”
A few seconds, then another face appeared on the wall. The eyes were new, stranger, but the feline face still curled in that exasperating coquette-ish smile.
Damn that cat, Steven thought. I wonder if her and the Cheshire are related.
“Agent Rodgers. Miss me?”
“Yes. In fact, we’re missing all of you. Where have you been?”
“Not yet,” the feline figure teased. “That would be telling. First, you should be caught up to speed…”