ITEA Headquarters, London, United Kingdoms
Colette Landry was standing in a lead-lined room that had a large generator filling up most of it, a simple lever protruding from the front of the apparatus where she stood. The young computer expert sighed, brushing her curly blond hair with her left and as she turned around and glanced at the monitors that lined the other walls. The room was fully shielded, thus no glass could be used, so instead cameras and monitors were used to allow Colette to see outside of the room and those outside to view inside. The only uncomplicated part of the room was the lone door which was typical wood-paneled one but with a lead interior. Outside the room Colette could see her old friend Marika Bran, maiden name Heino, working away at her own equipment. Both were part of a new, elite, special forces team.
Temporal terrorism had caused a brand new organization known as the International Temporal Enforcement Agency (ITEA) to be formed, also going by IT for short. Interpol veterans like Colette along with other law enforcement professionals had been recruited to be a part of the secret unit, which was led by former Interpol section chief Lucienne Christophe. It was theorized that roughly one to two hundred people in the world knew of the organization's existence, most of those were connected to the United Nations Security Council, Interpol, or the organization itself. Their chartered goal was to locate, investigate, and clean up temporal threats, which included the remnants of the Paradise Foundation.
In addition to Lucienne leading the organization as director, there were several wings with their own chiefs or directors as well as the field teams. The Tactical Wing was run by Hui Lan and Jelena Hendraille with Marika's husband Dieter Bran being the head of HQ security. For computer suppport besides Colette there was Travis 'Paddy' Paddington from Cornwall who was a bit of a joke amongst the organization's women due to his owl-like glasses and clueless personality when it came to socializing. Marika was the head of the Science Wing with Makeda Getachew also a key member of that department. Finally, there was the Espionage Wing, which was managed by Sophie Katsopolois and Palmira Tiago; naturally the pair were often in the field. Team Alpha consisted of Tasia Spiro, Colette, Sophie, Palmira, Jelena and Suzanna Ortiz, the biggest group of them all; only mobilized when situations were of high importance. Jean-Baptiste Odilon and Cassandra Flick, two of the most experienced agents in the organization, made up Team Beta. Team Gamma included Hui Lan and Miranda Ohala; Delta was Takahishi Nakamura and Ceasar Francisco and Epsilon consisted of Ivan Popov and Makeda Getachew. The four sub-teams tended to work in pairs unless the situation called for more strength or expertise, in which case extra agents were drafted and in some cases teams were combined. All in all within ITEA in addition to the named agents there were also a dozen members of building security, eighteen support staff and then eighty or so personnel qualified for field work. On typical day at least one fifth of IT's staff was away on assignment, with the tracking of Type-7 contraband and dealers being a top priority.
From outside the lead-lined chamber, they could see Colette on the monitors. “Alright; the levels are all green in here,” confirmed Marika, wearing her white lab coat over a black tube top and tan pants with sandals, her blond hair in a tiny ponytail. Marika had originally retired from Interpol to work with the Crime Scene Unit in Berlin with her husband Dieter, but Lucienne had convinced her to join IT as the science head on the condition that Dieter be given a job too and that neither would be actively assigned for field work. As a result Marika was free to – with the occasional help from Makeda – develop a working replica of the Paradise Foundation's Uranus Generator. The machine, which Colette was now going to test, could ideally allow anyone in the protected room to stop time and then move around freely in the outside environment. The original generator had been destroyed but Interpol had confiscated the blueprints, which had been given to IT when it had formed. The core function of the generator ran on a fluid of synthesized genetic material donated by Erika Stone, a woman who was capable of stopping time at will.
“Confirmed; test is ready to proceed,” announced Makeda, who was dressed almost the same as Marika. Makeda however was younger, being about Colette's age, and was Ethiopian with thick dark hair that rested in a low ponytail, a red tube top and black skirt making up her ensemble. Colette herself was wearing a white blouse and blue skirt with pantyhose, the petite Quebecois woman not wearing her lab coat for once.
“Alright, after a ten second countdown pull the lever and we'll run the experiment,” Marika continued into the microphone, speaking to Colette. “You remember what to do if the test works?”
“Exit the room, make an alteration and then return, pressing the green diode button,” reiterated Colette, having gotten the detailed instructions earlier.
“Correct; now beginning test, counting down...” declared Marika, holding a rubber ball in her left hand. Makeda meanwhile stood by with four colored balls in her hands, one red, one yellow, one blue and one green. “Ten... nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... one!”
When Marika reached the end of the countdown, Colette gritted her teeth and pulled the lever down, causing the machine to start humming. Pulsing sounds were heard as Colette turned around and watched the monitors closely. Marika had stepped back from the microphone and raised the ball, preparing to throw it, while Makeda began to juggle. As Colette watched, however, both of them seemed to slow down, the balls moving slower and Marika taking her time to release the rubber call. Finally after an agonizing minute the scene on the monitors had slowed down to the point where Marika, Makeda and the balls had all seemingly stopped completely.
“I'll be damned – it works!” exclaimed Colette, letting go of the lever. Suddenly excited, Colette quickly opened the simple door and stepped out into the lab portion of the room, where everything was eerily still. Sure enough the two scientists were frozen in time, as were the balls they'd been using to experiment with. The air itself seemed heavy and solid. Colette moved to give Marika a kiss on the cheek in celebration but then stopped, knowing that her friend would probably notice the wet feeling. “Sorry, I have to leave you with nothing,” giggled Colette, waving goodbye to Marika playfully and heading for the door to the lab. Marika had insisted they keep the test simple with Colette merely moving the balls but she had other plans, long overdue to try something else and now provided with the perfect opportunity.
Exiting the lab and her statue-like friends, Colette took a left turn and nearly walked straight into Suzanna Ortiz, who stood motionless, paused in mid-stride, a folder tucked under her left arm as she stared blankly into space. The brown-haired Hispanic was looking a bit sexy today, her hair loose and given a slight curve with a light purple tube top showing some decent cleavage; even the tight trousers emphasized her well-toned body. Colette casually copped a feel of the woman's breasts as she stole the folder and opened it. Suzanna was foremost a forensic expert, like Marika, but unlike the science wing head she knew little about the temporal technology hence why she was a part of Tasia's team rather than a key member of the department. Determining Suzanna was heading to deliver a report to Hui, Colette grinned and touched the woman's face. “How about I do you a favor?” suggested Colette, giving the silent time-stopped woman a quick kiss. Colette then wrapped her arms around Suzanna's waist and lifted her up and over her shoulder, an impressive feat for the French-Canadian as she had a somewhat small physique.
Quickly navigating two hallways of the large building and avoiding a couple of immobilized agents, Colette arrived in the tactical section of the building. William Volt, the wing's supervisor, was sitting silently at his desk, his hands hovering over his keyboard. Will's desk was next to a counter that held a coffee pot, one infamous for being spiked on a regular basis with Type-7 by jokesters within the organization. Strictly speaking, drugging coffee was illegal but had become a sort of inside joke among IT so no one really cared so long as the results didn't involve sexual violation. Lucienne herself had secretly started a poll to see who could be the most creative when posing a drugged employee. Setting Suzanna’s stiffened figure down near the machine, Colette poured a cup of the special coffee and changed Suzanna's hands so she was holding it to her lips, tipping so that a good deal of the wicked liquid already trickled down her throat. Will had a cup of his own near his right hand which Colette then swapped for the pot’s brew and, as with Suzanna, poured some down his throat, though not as much. Will hadn't been with the organization long but it was a frequent rumor that he had eyes for the pretty agent Colette had just delivered here, so she figured she'd do him (and maybe Suzanna) a favor.
Leaving the created scene behind her, Colette practically skipped along; glad the emergency timer Marika had built into the generator was set for forty-eight hours, thus she was in no rush.
Entering the firing range it was no surprise to see Hui there, bullets from her new Walther P99 sidearm frozen in mid-air as they flew towards a paper target at a distance beyond Colette's own ability to hit. Hui has another person familiar with timestop manipulation so Colette couldn't risk doing much beyond feeling her firm behind and then putting Suzanna's folder next to her. “You really know how to spoil someone's fun,” grumbled Colette, jumping the divider between the alley and the shooters. The hot lead of a moving bullet was cool to the touch when time was stopped, making it easy for Colette to manipulate the mid-air bullets so Hui would, seemingly by a fluke, create an “H” pattern in the target's head.
With the firing range now in her tracks, Colette's first proper stop was the security office the next floor up. Dieter was alone in his office, unless you counted the dozens of pictures he had of Marika and himself on their honeymoon and during their wedding. The man himself, clean-shaven for once, was leaning back in his chair as he glanced indirectly at the dozens of security monitors, all of which were frozen on specific images. Grabbing the back of Dieter's chair, Colette carefully wheeled him aside – he would never know – and climbed under the main console with a special device in hand. Fishing through the wires, Colette found the one that connected to the camera in Lucienne's office and clamped her device to it. While nothing seemed to happen now, when time resumed it would change the displayed image so that it would continually show the office as empty, which was how Colette wanted it. Finished with the subterfuge, Colette buried her work and returned Dieter to his place, but turned him slightly since currently the image would suddenly go from Tasia and Lucienne drinking tea to nothing instantly. The time it would take Dieter to turn around would be enough to hide the change.
With Dieter taken care of, Colette planned to next strike Lucienne's office but was quickly sidetracked on her way. Taking an alternate route than the normal one, Colette found herself in the covert operations center, better known as espionage. While Palmira was out on assignment Sophie, the wing's director whom Palmira shared and office with, was present today, as was disguise expert Miranda Ohala. Both were frozen into a time-stopped diorama. Sophie, a blond Greek around Lucienne's age, was applying lipstick as she looked at a compact she held in her free hand. Sophie's was dressed almost formally, a light blue top that was more like a vest and a short skirt the same color essentially appearing to be a dress of sorts. Miranda meanwhile sat at her desk, which was in a cubicle outside of Sophie's office, a cordless phone held to her right ear and a pencil locked in her free hand mid-twirl, a smile on her face.
“I'd have to say someone's taking a personal call,” remarked Colette, sitting down on Miranda's desk and removing the phone from her stiff hand. “Naughty naughty, Lucienne warned you about this. Time for some punishment.” Miranda stared blankly into space, suspended between one second and the next. After hanging up the phone Colette raided Miranda's desk and found a small pair of scissors. With those in hand, Colette carefully examined the buttons on the Hawaiian girl's blouse and partially ripped their threads, greatly loosening them. At the slightest movement, they’d probably fall off. Colette then finished by getting a feel of the woman's rigid breasts and running her tongue underneath her neck, making sure to wipe her off afterward.
Knowing that her fun and games might be going too far and get her busted, Colette decided to relent when she entered Sophie's office. Instead of doing something wild like she had imagined, she merely adjusted the older IT agent's lipstick hand so she'd touch her face in a different place, making a classic smear. For gossip's sake however Colette decided to raid the woman's desk, looking for hidden secrets. A resort’s picture of the Greek with a man was found, confirming her to at least be bisexual if not straight, but more interesting was the red-colored dildo buried under a massive collection of unused Post-It notes. “Someone likes them huge,” whistled Colette, deciding against using it on the senior agent right now.
Having played enough, Colette exited the espionage area and took the stairs to the top offices, passing JB and Cassandra on the way; the frozen pair were holding hands. Odie had proposed to Cassie a short time ago, the fact being the first public news regarding their relationship, but she'd turned him down. In spite of this setback the couple appeared to still be dating, which made Colette happy since she knew rejected proposals usually killed the relationship. Once again Colette's meddling was kept light, merely moving JB's other hand so it was lightly touching Cassandra's rear.
The upper offices were the home of the technical division that Colette helped head as well as the senior offices for non-department leaders. Besides Lucienne, there were also offices for Tasia, JB, Cassandra and Ivan Popov as well as a dual one for Paddy that Colette shared with him. Several analysts sat like waxwork figures in cubicles, the usual drone of typing muted due to time being frozen. Colette practically skipped on her way towards Lucienne's “empty” office.
Lucienne's workplace was unique around the ITEA, given that she was the Supreme Director. A half-dozen clocks were on the wall, each corresponding to a major time zone around the world with the hub city labeled: LA, New York, Berlin, Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo. Additionally on the giant desk there was a computer that tracked London time. On the back wall of the large office was a world map with tacks marking every location where suspected Type-7 dealers were located; the immobilizing colorless, odorless and tasteless sedative being the biggest drug problem for IT at the current time. Toothpick flags with the names of IT agents were also decorating the board, indicating where deployed members were currently located. A bookshelf in the corner was loaded with books on international law and regulations as well as UN policies along with nearly one hundred books on different countries. Not all of the office was work-related however, a mini-fridge tucked away in another corner with an electric kettle resting on top as well as a collection of tea. The bookshelf meanwhile also contained a few classics like the works of Shakespeare, a few awards, and even her old USP; the sidearm was not the IT standard as the P99 and Sig-Sauer P226 were what Hui and Jelena had been in favor of. A framed picture of Lucienne and Tasia together on a beach in Volos sat on the desk.
Tasia herself was sitting in a leather wheeled chair with large arm rests, a cup of tea held to her lips in her left hand while her right held the saucer on her lap, her right leg crossed over the left. Lucienne was leaned back in the leather chair behind her massive oak desk, a cup of tea on her own lips held there by both hands while her saucer rested near her keyboard. Both women had their hair down, Lucienne's was straight while Tasia's was wavy, the couple even wearing similar business dresses: both wore a solid color ensemble with another color for a highlight with pantyhose and heels. Tasia was wearing a dark green with gold highlighting her outfit while Lucienne wore black and white, both women wearing shoes that matched their primary color. “Tea on the job... don't you know there's work to be done?!” shouted Colette in false anger at the time-stopped pair. They already looked like elegant mannequins in their harmonizing outfits, she thought with a smile, knowing what she’d planned. “I sentence you both to herbal punishment!” Giggling, Colette produced a small capsule of modified Type-7 powder from her pocket and dropped some into each one’s cup. The powder was a time-activated solution Ashley Tisdale had invented over a year ago which wouldn't trigger until the special blockers were worn away. This particular powder would take five minutes, which worked fine for Colette. “I'll play later,” insisted Colette, giving each silent woman a peck on the cheek before leaving.
Life in the frozen world had been fun, but Colette knew it had to end and was a bit sad for that. Unfortunate as it was, Colette couldn't risk Marika discovering that she was pulling a ruse and skipped any more possible games, instead returning to the lab and re-entering the test chamber. Naturally Marika and Makeda hadn't changed at all, time being still frozen. With a deep breath Colette assumed her earlier pose and quickly touched the green diode.
Time resuming was a drawn-out process, just like stopping it had been. The machine's hum lessened as the time-stopped balls the pair of scientists had been using for the test began to move along with their own actions. Colette had plenty of time to fully resume her pose before anything could be picked up visually. Finally the rubber ball thrown by Marika hit the wall across the room and Makeda's juggling continued for a moment before she saw nothing had changed.
“Shouldn't something of happened by now?” Colette asked, her voice transmitting to outside the special room. She was trying very hard not to giggle at the truth.
“Yes, I guess this means it either isn't working or we weren't able to properly shield you,” confirmed Marika, stepping up to the microphone a moment later. “You might as well head back upstairs, we'll be taking the machine apart to figure out what didn't work. Thanks for your help.”
“It was no problem,” smiled Colette, exiting the special room as Makeda entered, screwdriver in hand. Marika merely nodded at her friend as she exited the lab altogether. It was tempting to go and see how Will had reacted to Suzanna's unexpected presence or Hui's unusual marksmanship but Colette wanted to exploit the situation she'd created in Lucienne's office before it was too late. The blanking gizmo on the video line might be discovered at any time. Getting on the elevator, Colette headed for the top floor.
Partway up the elevator shaft the box stopped and Miranda entered, stepping in next to Colette. The Canadian smiled as she saw that Miranda's blouse had burst around her breasts, the top four buttons now missing and revealing a lacy see-through bra, which almost made her nipples visible. Miranda was covering her nearly-exposed chest with her hands and appeared to be a bit red. “Not a word,” insisted the Hawaiian.
“Oh come on, that's not fair,” complained Colette, attempting not to giggle.
“Tough; I'm not in the mood,” shrugged Miranda. “Good, you're already going up.” The elevator doors closed and the climb resumed in silence, Colette letting out the occasional sniff of restrained laughter as the ride continued.
Finally at the top floor, Colette exited but Miranda stayed behind. “That was sarcasm earlier; I'm actually going down,” revealed the busty American, stepping to the side so no one would see as she moved a hand to press a button. A young male analyst moved towards the elevator, a stack of papers in his hands. “Take the next one!” shouted Miranda as the doors closed, leaving the analyst to groan and admire Colette's trim body as she walked by.
There were no secretaries at IT, just a reception girl downstairs named Gitana who handled any unknown callers and visitors. Due to this practice, if someone wanted to see a senior member of the organization they just had to knock, which is exactly what Colette did. No one responded to the tap at Lucienne's door, which for Colette was good news since she'd taken the elevator to give herself time for the drug to take effect while she hoped the her superior hadn’t gotten any other visitors in the meantime. Glancing around and certain she wasn't being watched, Colette quickly opened the door and entered the office, closing the door behind her.
The scene was familiar for Colette but their poses were different, and this time the six clocks Lucienne had which decorated her office with were ticking away. Tasia's cup was now resting on the saucer that was on her lap, her right hand gesturing with spread fingers towards Lucienne, her mouth open and the hint of a smile on her face. Lucienne meanwhile had put her cup down and her fingers were hovering over her keyboard, her gaze nonetheless on the face of her lover. Breathing a sigh of relief, Colette turned around and locked the door. “This took me a lot longer than I thought it would,” groaned the French woman.
Moving behind Lucienne, Colette almost squealed in glee as she dragged the senior agent and her chair away from the computer while letting her keep her pose. With Lucienne out of the way, Colette produced a flash drive and connected it to the computer. Since the director had already logged in Colette didn't need a password or a biometric print to begin searching the files for important data and copying it to her portable drive. “You'll make me rusty,” complained Colette, a bit disappointed she didn't have to hack into anything. Colette ended up eating her words less than a minute later when a file, labeled as Hawaii 2008 - Tasia Notes, failed to transfer.
“Shit,” sighed Colette, calling up the file. The particular item was encrypted and could not be copied in standard ways, meaning Colette would have to create a new file and then open the existing file to copy its contents manually rather than just copying the file itself. Frustrated, Colette accessed the special file and saw she'd need another fingerprint scan to get it to open. Smiling now, Colette quickly wheeled the stiffened figure of Lucienne back to her desk and let her left index finger float over the scanner, which detected her unique fingerprint pattern and allowed opening of the file. Pushing Lucienne away again, Colette happily read the secret file for the first time.
It was less than five minutes before Colette was done and her eyebrows had raised. “I think this deserves some investigating...” Lucienne and Tasia remained as silent mannequins.