PPC Mission II (cont.)

“I hate this. I really do. Just listening to this is…ugh.”

“Julius, we aren’t sporking it because it’s good.”

“I know, I know, but still…I mean, how is exploiting loopholes in parental arguments cunning? It’s just annoying, and it doesn’t work. I mean, really, what does she expect to get out of this? If her parents were halfway realistic, they would just send Scarlett home the moment she came over, but nooo…” I peeked over her shoulder as she wrote a letter to her friend. 

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PPC Mission II

“Okay okay okay, whadda we got?” my new partner asked, bouncing up and down in a supremely annoying fashion as she stared at the console, displaying our latest assignment.

I cuffed her lightly upside the head. “Never get excited about the Duty. It is a job, nothing more. In fact, it’s not even a job. It’s more like volunteer work. Hard work, no pay, ridiculous hours, but since we’re doing it for a decent cause we all tend not to complain. Yeah, that sounds about right. Fascinating. I never really thought about it that way before…” I mused. I snapped back to some semblance of reality. “Ax?”

Leila blinked, utterly bewildered by my train of thought. “What?”

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Mission I: avala black An American at Hogwarts

I woke up, woken not by noise, but by silence. I knew immediately something was wrong. If I was in my response center, which I was, then by rights techno music should have been blasting my ears off. Then I realized that if techno had been blasting my ears off, I shouldn’t have been able to sleep. I remembered what had happened last night. I moaned, holding my head between my hands. I only had vague recollections of last night. I remembered going to the HQ Cafeteria, not the public section, the part that everybody knows about but nobody ever talks about. I don’t drink, as a rule, but I could fuzzily remember a whole lot of Bleepka (a potent combination of vodka, brain bleach, and aspirin) and this viscous pink fluid, but that was all.

A horrible thought entered my head. I tried to look under my bed, realized I had fallen asleep on a table, looked under the table, and didn’t find anybody under it. Thank God for small mercies.

But why had I let myself go so much last night? I tried my best to think, given how much my head hurt. Something bad had happened, I knew that much, so I had tried to forget it. That much had worked at least, I thought, chagrined. Something occurred to me. “Hey, Tai! What happened yester…” I began, and then I remembered.

  Tai, my partner through thick and thin, was dead. Eaten, to be more specific. By the Watcher in the Water, to dredge up excessively painful memories. It was a hazard of working in the PPC, AKA the Protectors of the Plot Continuum.

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