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Shinra's Finest - Midgar's own boys in black
Back on the job 
9th-Oct-2005 12:00 pm

She was a day early. Drake wasn't expecting her for another day, but she had hitched the earliest ride she could find from Junon, written her report as soon as she arrived home, and woke up early enough the next morning to file into the office along with the other Shinra employees. She brushed off the occasional glance or the obvious stare, accustomed to such things wherever she went with a suit and tie. She was short, looked a little too young for her age and certainly too young to be a Shinra employee. But she did have an ID and from the way she walked--purposeful strides--no one had dared voice their questions or doubts. The elevator was silent as it made its way up the floors, salarymen and women in their clean business suits and leather briefcases still not fully awake, standing stiffly and only shifting a little to let somebody behind them pass. Most of them managed to avoid jostling Ilea, who looked like she would not take kindly to being bumped into. Almost everyone was gone by the fourtieth floor, and by the time the chime sounded for the 66th floor, Ilea was all alone.

She waited as the white doors to the elevator slid smoothly open, her eyes doing a quick sweep of the area around her. She sensed nothing unusual and stepped out. There was nobody in the office save for Drake, his office door was swung wide open which meant that he was probably expecting her. She threaded her way through the desks, not stopping for coffee or even to take off her suit jacket. She knocked shortly on the door as she walked through it, the sound a loud staccato amidst the silence of the empty office. The rest seemed to be on one assignment or another, and she guessed she'd be out of the building before nightfall, already briefed on another operation.

She dropped her report on Drake's desk. "Ilea Averon reporting for duty, sir."
15th-Oct-2005 06:14 am (UTC)
From the echo of timely footsteps in the hall outside his office, Drake knew that the working day must have started. Finally. In truth, he had been at the office for hours already, first awoken to a call in the small hours of the morning that one - no, make that two - of his men had arrived in the company hospital, one of whom should never have been near any sort of combat. After a few frustrating hours of trying to make out the details of what had occured when the two who were concious really had no idea, he'd been called in to an emergency meeting.

Godo, it seemed, had finally risen to bait, and an attack on their facilities in Wutai was imminent. Within months, if not days, the ultimate success or failure of the SOLDIER program would be put to the test. The only one absent had been Hojo - perhaps to wrapped up in his latest specimen, the 'sample' from Gast, to attend. The meeting itself was brief; they'd been planning this for years, and it was merely to ensure that everyone was ready to put their part into action on schedule.

But it meant that he was wearing a suit this morning, something he rarely bothered with these days, and between the familiar comfortable fit and his cup of coffee he was calmer than he otherwise might of been: less worried over the impending military situation, less irritated with certain members of his department. He smoothed back his hair. What are you still doing here? The question was directed at both the office and the position, and the answer not quite so clear since the issue of his successor was more or less closed... Or perhaps not.

He smiled to himself at the appearance of the very person at the heart of his indecision, raising his cup in greeting. Early, as usual. He spared a glance for the report, but she would no doubt have already informed him of any problems that had arisen. "Good morning."

She stood, waiting while he flipped through the first few pages, so Drake continued: "You're aware of the situation that arose in Nibelheim these past few months?" It was hardly a question. "It seems the perpetrators are have had Midgar in mind for their destination, and may have already reached the city. I have made finding them top priority for most the department - last night, or as far as I'm to gather Baldur, Luca, and Jack went out to gather information, and I woke this morning to find that Jack and one of the medical staff had been admitted to the company hospital with gunshot wounds."

Drake was leaving out what he had heard of the situation so far; she would find out why soon enough. "Baldur has already given her account of the events, and Jack is presently unable to do so. Luca, however..." He frowned, a hint of the irritation slipping through. "Is nowhere to be found. Baldur and Hadrian have no knowledge of his present location, and his mobile is off - no response from his home phone either. Nor was he present last night." And this was what annoyed him most: he hadn't hired either Baldur or Jack for their combat abilities, though it went without saying that they could hold their own, which was precisely why he'd assigned Luca to them. And for him to be absent at a time like this...

"Your assignment this morning is to find Luca and bring him back here by any means necessary." Break into his apartment if necessary, he added silently, disgusted that this was an order he would even have to give. Then added: "And if possible, try to find out what actually happened last night before he and Jack have the chance to compare notes."

16th-Oct-2005 10:26 am (UTC)
There were few people that Ilea respected, and even fewer she looked up to. Drake belonged in that previleged latter category, partly because he was perhaps the only one of Ilea's many superior and commanding officers over the years who seemed and actually was competent. And partly because he reminded her of someone she'd met once. Somebody she had questions about. She could have asked Drake anytime, and everytime she walked into his office, everytime she heard his voice on the phone, everytime he stood in front of her at a meeting, she thought about it. And everytime she quashed it, throwing it violently to the back of her mind. Her expression used to waver when she did that, she had noticed once because Drake's gaze had been drawn to her--a sharp flicker of his eyes--but now she'd learned not to even blink. Next to the jobs that Drake gave her, her questions paled in comparison--small, insignificant. She was better than that so she never, ever asked. And Drake had never offered her any information, or asked the questions she'd been thinking because it simply wasn't his business. He looked after Ilea in the same way that he looked after all the Turks--he made sure they did their jobs. So Ilea always made sure not to fail him. And she hadn't yet.

Ilea stood patiently as Drake flipped through her flawless report, matching up the information he gave her with what she'd already deduced, and filling in new info where needed. "Yes sir," she said when Drake had finished speaking. "I'll report back to you as soon as I have something."

She was glad to have something to do, for sometimes Drake had the mistaken notion that she needed 'days off.' What she needed was jobs. They came frequently, but sometimes not frequently enough.

What Drake told her worried her; she'd heard of what happened at Nibelheim and the resulting spread. The fact that the Turks hadn't wiped it out yet was concerning. She was usually sent in to eliminate threats before they started, not after they got out of hand. But Shinra had needed her elsewhere. So it was possible, albeit highly unlikely that they had let something slip under the radar. While her usual cleanup duties did not extend to her peers, Ilea was a little relieved that she'd gotten assigned to Midgar, at least for a short duration. The past few months had seen her all over the continents; anywhere there was an important military facilitary and even in Wutai. She wouldn't mind a little time at home.

Ilea wished Drake a good day and turned to leave. She slowed when she got to the door, something in the back of her mind reminding her that she might not have too many chances to ask Drake the questions she'd been wanting to know since she'd first been enrolled at the Shinra Military Academy. She turned her head, but Drake had already turned back to his coffee and her report, so she kept walking, once more silencing the voice. She listened with satisfaction at the clicks of her footsteps on the floor, steady and measured. She didn't stop until she got to the elevator.

There was nobody inside when she stepped in. The doors chimed and closed.

Ilea disliked Luca intensely, but she had some small measure of respect for him as she did for all the Turks. Drake had a good eye, they did their jobs and were good at them. Luca was one of few amongst her colleagues who would give her a run for her money in a fight, armed or otherwise. It was the Mako that made her a uneasy. Coupled to the fact that Luca had a habit of hitting on anything that moved and was female, Ilea tolerated the man's presence only because she had to. Because he had been hand-picked by Drake, which meant that he had some useful qualities, if no redeeming ones.

The simple fact that he was missing meant one of two things. Either something very bad had happened to him, or he was doing it on purpose. Whichever it was Ilea would have him, and some answers by noon.

The elevator slid smoothly to the first floor and opened into Shinra's lobby, where it was still busy with people coming into work or sneaking out for a cup of quality coffee before the day formally began. She walked out the door onto the busy street, deciding that the first place she would start looking was Luca's residence.
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