The Sequence of Kai
“Everyone downstairs! We’ve got another one.”
Paul shouts at us from his office, unaware that all three of us are in the room adjacent to him and not, in fact, upstairs.
It’s a surprise to hear him speak without provocation but what he says isn’t surprising in the least. He only calls us in when we’ve got a job to do.
‘Another one’, another person like us, someone unfortunate enough to have been dealt in.
We find our way into the office in reverse order of how close we were to the hall, Trish then me, then Aaron.
Naturally, Trish was first, she didn’t even bother standing up, just transferred herself from the chair she was on to the one she leaves in Paul’s room for exactly that purpose. Even more naturally, Aaron is slow to react, indecisive, so I was already in the hall before he had even finished standing up out of his chair.
“What are we looking at this time?”
“The 10 of spades just went live in France.”
“Ooh, is it Paris? I love Paris, it’s, like, so beautiful!”
She said she loved Reykjavik too on the basis that it was ‘like, so cold!’ She just likes going places.
“Just outside, a chateau on the outskirts.”
I decide to cut to the chase to eliminate all of the superfluous questions Trish is sure to have.
“What’s so special about this one? Apart from the obvious.”
The obvious is that this new case is closer to us than it is to Kohsan, we’re not in the business of body retrieval. Even then there has to be something more, Paul isn’t one to put us at risk for someone no more useful (or dangerous) than a street magician.
The pause catches us all off guard, Paul doesn’t start speaking with intention to pause. These ‘briefings’ are usually pretty concise, it’s hard to know exactly how his abilities work without being in his head but up until now he’s always known what he’s needed to know.
Names, locations, abilities. It’s rare that someone gets dealt in and he doesn’t know, in fact, the only time I’m aware of that happening was with me, though I’m not a good point of reference.
“Mallory Peyrin, early 20s, currently residing in a chateau outside Paris, she’s……. Her ability….. She can see something, something I’m not permitted to see….”
He’s not going to expand on that, even if I ask.
“What do you mean, you’re not permitted?”
Surprisingly Aaron, normally the least critical amongst us, is the one to speak. Unsurprisingly though, Paul doesn’t answer him.
“I want to know what she’s able to see, it might be important to winning this game.”
What Aaron means is that it might give us a way to beat Amir. It’s a long shot but right now we’d jump at a one in a million chance to find such a thing.
Trish pipes up to ask the obvious question.
“What about Bastien?”
“He’s still…… no, he hid himself from me a few moments ago, I’m sure he’s on the move.”
Bastien is the only player we know of that can remain hidden from Paul, other than me. Though his ability to remain hidden is active. Most of the time he lets Paul see where he is, to let him know it makes no difference if he knows where he is, there’s nothing we can do to him.
“Alright, me and Trish will go get her.”
“Uh, why you two?”
The one interjecting is Aaron, Paul has already accepted things as resolved and is writing in his book again.
“Well, Trish has to go because she can get us there fast.”
“When I said ‘you two’ I thought you might catch that I meant why I’m not going.”
“Because she can only take one person with her.”
“Then she should take me, I’m the only one here who can find out what she’s seeing, right?”
I don’t have to argue with him on this one, he’s looking to Trish for backup. She started getting her nervous smile ready when he started his protests.
“Uh….. Sorry Aaron, you’re really no good in a fight, I’m going to take Kai.”
She kicks her legs out like a restless child and hides her mouth behind the sleeves of her jacket. It’s always nice when Trish can settle one of these like that, even if it sickens me.
I should probably smooth things over on my side, I don’t want to get on the bad side of people Trish is close to if I can help it.
“Look, you can find out what it is she’s seeing, when we bring her back here. If Bastien’s involved, then I’ll need to go, if you want her brought back in roughly one piece that is.”
I think I may have failed to smooth things over if his eyebrows are anything to go by. Must’ve worded it wrong.
“Just don’t do anything that gets you into trouble.”
He storms off while trying to pretend he’s not. Trish has a look on her face like ‘why did you say it like that?’. It’s one of her favourite expressions. Still don’t know what I said that was wrong.
We don’t leave immediately, we have to change first.
I leave a special set of clothes in Trish’s wardrobe for snap missions like these, so I don’t have to go home. I always insist on changing first so now I’m just waiting for her.
The reason we have to change is because Trish’s power doesn’t take everything with it. There’s been several times where she’s whisked me away from somewhere in a hurry only to leap off my naked body whenever we’re in the clear.
There’s no patch of skin on my body that hasn’t been buried in snow at this stage, she never chooses to escape to somewhere warm.
Aaron supposedly made some thread that fixes that, one of his famed impossible items. If Trish sews it into something, then that thing can be taken with her. Honestly, I’m not sure how it all works, I’m not even supposed to know that’s how it’s done, he said to me he’d modified the clothes personally. Trish let the thing about the thread slip, she wouldn’t tell me why he’d lie about that.
She doesn’t have to, it’s about control. Aaron has a strong sense of his own ideals, of course, he does with a power so strong. He didn’t tell me about the thread so that he can pretend there are things he can’t make, should he be opposed to making them. Things like clothes that don’t stain.
It makes me upset that Trish is into such a coward. All the power in the world and he’s too afraid that things will break, it’s pathetic.
“Hey, I’m done.”
Trish opens the door to let me into her room. I breathe in and out. I hate the feeling of her ability, it made me throw up the first time.
She checks the camera feed of the Paris transfer zone to make sure nothing is blocking the way. When she confirms that it’s safe, she puts her hand on my shoulder and starts moving the world around us.