Two agents, one mission, too many problems

"Around the world those with magic or magic potential are being taken and never seen or heard from again and a majority of those missing are young children."

-

"Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles, as you are an expert in magic and languages, you are assigned this mission. Agent James Wolfe will be accompanying you as this is your first mission out of the county and you are still under training. You both have three hours to gather any belongings, say goodbye to loved ones, whatever else you need done while away on a mission."

-

"For any purchases that are necessary for this mission, use your company card. Remember to keep this operation on a need-to-know basis. Below are a list of countries that have magic users that have not had any reported abduction activity- our bases over there have been informed of your arrival and expect cooperation."

-

The blue jay was both excited and nervous for her first huge assignment and she got to travel! However, what made her nervous- borderline terrified in fact was the fact that magic users were involved. Could it be possible that these are the same people that took her? Should she even dare look at the countries? If Italy wasn't listed then she'd know if it was them or not...Right?

-

With a nervous gulp, she looked at the list...

-

...And saw that her native country was indeed not on the list. 

-

Why is this happening? Why does she have to be assigned? Isn't there more qualified magic users that are also agents anywhere else that they could get?!

-

Wait...

-

Giving the list another look over- shock struck her when she saw the country of Mexico was on the list. 

-

"Majority...Are kids..."

-

Which meant that adults could also be taken. Which means...

-

Her Papai could be in danger! She should warn him! But her orders...

-

After having and calming down from one of her episodes, she decided to inform her parents that she and a co-worker would be in the area for business. That was fine, right? No mentioning of the mission whatsoever!

-

Taking a cold shower, she finished packing some clothes for any and all weather possibilities before making her way to Headquarters where she and James were to meet before getting on the aircraft. 

-

Fortunately years of hiding her feelings behind a cheery disposition became natural to her- unfortunately her superior knew when she was faking it or not. 

    • James Wolfe
      James Wolfe

      James had already prepared everything for the journey, and was sitting in his office, looking through the case file. He'd gone through many cases like these, but it was still very upsetting. Those poor children. He wondered how they were faring now. It frustrated him to know how no one else was able to find or protect them, and wanted to leave the first moment he heard about this, but he knew SHUSH would never let him leave without backup. 

      Speaking of... his backup was taking quite a while, wasn't she? He was already told about her as soon as he received his mission, and wondered if she was a bad choice. 

      He knew he should be patient; she was far more emotional, and this was her first big mission after all. But he refused to coddle her. She had to know that this was her job, and backing out, or panicking, was not an option. 

      Besides, he needed to harden his heart. Acting rashly would not do favours for them both. It would only worsen things. 

      He glanced up as she entered, and frowned slightly. She looked... upset. She trained under him for two months now, he knew when she was pretending and when she wasn't. But who was he to judge? He liked to hide too. He just hid better. Also his mind was made up, and- 

      There was a rattle as he pulled out a bag of boiled sweets and set them in front of Feliciana as he stood. 

      "Don't eat them all at once," he said dryly. 

      She liked candy, didn't she? He got them earlier while packing. 

      • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
        Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

        "Sorry I'm late, Signore!" She apologized, giving him a salute.

        -

        Normally when in the presence of candy or anything sweet- her onyx eyes would light up and sparkle with delight. Not this time, she merely smiled at him and took the bag. "Grazie."

        -

        Not even popping one in her mouth, she put the bag in her duffel bag.

        -

        "Would you mind if our first stop to investigate be Mexico?" She asked, her voice laced with concern.

        -

        "Looking over the file, I saw that the previous two countries that reported magic user abductees were Canada and here in America, so I figured that Mexico could be their next target."

        -

        While that wasn't a lie, it wasn't the truth either.

        • James Wolfe
          James Wolfe

          James regarded Feliciana with an unimpressed look on his face. 

          "You want to see your parents, don't you? Well, unfortunately, this is not the time to let your emotions get in the way of our mission. And it will be very irresponsible and unwise to follow your gut feelings, especially when you have no solid proof." 

          He turned to walk out of the office and head down to the airfield. 

          "We are going to investigate LA first. I've pinpointed most of the kidnappings in that location. Once we get more information, we can decide where to head next." 

          • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
            Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

            Feliciana looked down guiltily when he asked her that. While yes that was part of the reason why she wanted to go to Mexico first, it wasn't her only reason.

            -

            While she wanted to argue that she did indeed have some sort of proof, she wasn't going to deny that going to Los Angeles first was a good point. She had done her research too- hell, she had lost sleep with how much research she's poured into this assignment more than any other to date.

            -

            If the group behind these kidnappings are the same ones responsible for her own...She wasn't going to risk going to Mexico when there's a chance she can catch them sooner than they can cross the border. She merely nodded her head at his decision and followed him to the airfield.

            -

            Usually Feliciana would be chatting his ear off just like in the office whenever she could. She did enjoy conversation a bit too much, but this time she engulfed herself in the documents of information they gathered so far, not humming, just pure silence save for whenever she would take huge gulps of her beverage. 

            • James Wolfe
              James Wolfe

              Well, the silence was a bit... disconcerting. At least she was absorbed in the documents, which allowed the wolf agent to look at her from time to time. 

              Finally, after debating with himself, and looking around to make sure no one was watching, his hand came down on her shoulder. 

              "Are you alright?" he asked gently. 

              • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                How many times had she looked over the same documents ever since receiving them along with her mission statement yesterday? She had honestly lost count...She had to be certain she didn't miss a single thing- even a small clue could be proof that these people are in the very same organization that had murdered her biological grandparents before taking her. The blue jay was determined to find them and arrest them before they begin those awful experiments she endured on these kids.

                -

                When James had put his hand on her shoulder, she recoiled from the touch, recovering from it a split second later. "Si, si." She waved her hand dismissively. "I'm fine!" She lied with her usual cheery smile. 

                • James Wolfe
                  James Wolfe

                  James glanced at her deadpannedly. Then he placed his hand on the wall next to her head and moved in closer. 

                  "I do not like lies, agent," he frowned. "Remember the rules in the SHUSH handbook? Besides, if you don't have a clear head, you won't be able to deal with the mission efficiently. Now, talk." 

                  • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                    Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                    "I still think we should have gone to Mexico." She repeated, keeping her gaze to the documents. Sure, she didn't lie, but she wasn't telling the whole truth either. Afraid if she did that she would get questioned...And she tried her best to suppress those terrible memories of her past- it pained her whenever they came back. It was painful to suppress them. Why did it matter if no matter what she would feel pain?

                    -

                    Because she didn't want anyone to know her pain- her adoptive family does and she could see how it pained them to try and think of all she had been through...She didn't want to burden anyone else with her pain. Nobody deserved it. 

                    -

                    "If you've read the documents thoroughly as I did,you would have noted that they do not remain in the same place long nor do they leave anything behind that could be traced back to them or any supposed associates." Her tone was formal and devoid of any emotion- which was not like the blue jay at all to be filled with anything but emotion. "By the time we arrive in Los Angeles any possible lead would have run cold."

                    -

                    Though her tone was devoid of any emotion, her eyes were filled with it- filled with worry and concern for the safety of those missing and those that could be next. There was also a hint of fear.

                    • James Wolfe
                      James Wolfe

                      James narrowed his eyes. "And why, exactly, are you questioning my authority? I said we needed to find more information and leads in Los Angeles before deciding anything or doing anything irrational, as we barely know any motives, let alone their endgame. I refuse to follow an intuition blindly. So unless you tell me your reasons for why you think we should head straight to Mexico, I will have no choice but to relieve you from this mission. You are clearly emotionally compromised and would hold us both back." 

                      Ouch. James usually was harsh towards agents of lower rank, but here, he was merciless towards the bluejay. 

                      • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                        Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                        "Because I know who these people are and what they are capable of!" She shouted her answer with a growl, her body tensing and...shaking? Was she truly that mad? No...She was shaking because of something else...

                        -

                        She inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, calming herself before speaking. "Sorry for my outburst, it's just that--" She took another breathe, her hands still somewhat trembling. Though her previous outburst was sudden and unexpected-- it was definitely the truth- she did know about this organization somehow, but how much did she know? 

                        -

                        More importantly-- why was she withholding what could be useful and helpful information for this assignment?

                        -

                        "...I'm scared...For those children they have..." She admitted, her voice shaking as she shut her eyes, tears falling down her cheek. "I'm sorry for withholding this fact from you."

                         

                        • James Wolfe
                          James Wolfe

                          James blinked once at her outburst, and watched in confusion as she started to break down. Was she-? Wait. She hid this crucial information from him?? He wanted to yell at her, but she was already crying. It'll probably make her feel worse. 

                          "Pull yourself together, agent," he said gruffly. "Next time, if you know something we don't, you have to come forward. I want the cold hard facts, not intuition or gut feelings. Imagine if something terrible happened because you didn't want to confess! Excuse me-" 

                          He got up and headed to the cockpit. After a while, he returned. The plane was now flying to Mexico instead. 

                          "Now," he sat back down with a frown. "Tell me everything you know about them." 

                          • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                            Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                            Feliciana nodded her head, wiping the tears from her face as she used the time James was in the cockpit to calm herself as well as to mentally prepare herself for the conversation that lied ahead.

                            -

                            Taking a deep breath, she exhaled it slowly before sitting across from him, her eyes to the ground as she began to fiddle with one of her two braids. Speaking about it never was easy for her and it most likely never will be easy to do so.

                            -

                            "I don't know the name of the organization itself..." She began. "I don't think they ever said it, but I remember..." Her body began to tremble again, taking a break to take another breath before continuing. "Names...Names of the 'doctors' and their assistants...The names of the other kids...I can never forget..."

                            -

                            "Each of us were branded with a symbol." Another breath, this really wasn't easy for her to talk about. 

                            -

                            "If you didn't get the results they wanted from you during the experiments..." A hitched breath this time. "You'd be whipped until unconsciousness. We had anti-magic restraints around our necks that also doubled as shock collars and if you disobeyed, they would go off. If you tried to escape, you were killed."

                            -

                            "The only time we were allowed to use magic was when they had us fight against each other..."

                            -

                            "...In all the years I've been there, I never knew-- nobody knew why this was being done to us and to this day I still don't..."

                             

                            • James Wolfe
                              James Wolfe

                              James took notes on her account, glancing at her from time to time with an odd expression. It wasn't anger or disgust. It was more like... a struggle between showing sympathy and keeping his iron mask on. 

                              Eventually, he just looked away, but his hand reached over and took her hand gently. 

                              "I'm sorry it happened to you, and those other kids you knew," he said quietly. "I had no idea. But... I do know for a fact now that you are emotionally compromised. Are you certain you still want to work on this mission with me? I don't..." he hesitated for a moment, then went on. "I don't want you to get hurt." 

                              His hand shook, but he still refused to look at the bluejay, for fear that he would lose his composure. He needed it. 

                              • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                Feliciana nodded without hesitation. 

                                -

                                "I was assigned this mission and I will complete it, it's my duty." 

                                -

                                She smiled, giving his hand a gently squeeze.

                                -

                                "Grazie for caring, Signore Wolfe, and for changing the course..."

                                • James Wolfe
                                  James Wolfe

                                  "Hmph. I know you are ready. What I'm concerned about is whether you will be able to keep your emotions in check or not," James grumbled. He scowled when she squeezed his hand and thanked him. For caring, of all things! Ugh. At least it was better than looking sad  

                                  "I don't care. I just want to make sure you know what you're up against," he said gruffly, pulling his hand away and folding his arms. "Now, less talk, more planning." 

                                  Adding from what he learnt from Feliciana, he offered the plan to use her as a decoy to draw the kidnappers out. As she had the brand, they would recognise her as one of their old experiments. He also tried to get names of the supposed doctors from Feliciana that she remembered and sent them back to SHUSH via text, requesting to give them all a background check. 

                                  • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                    Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                    "I will do my best to do so, promise!"

                                    -

                                    She frowned upon seeing his scowl as she let go of his hand, glancing out the window for a moment before turning her attention back to him as he discussed the plan.

                                    -

                                    Unfortunately SHUSH wouldn't be able to do a proper search as the blue jay had only known those people by a first name basis-- she never knew their surnames. It was something she apologized to the wolf for not knowing.

                                    -

                                    Feliciana hoped her past trauma would not interfere with this mission. 

                                    -

                                    "One more thing..." She added, taking a file out of her bag. "I stayed up all night putting this together."

                                    -

                                    Within the file was documents of all the missing children from Italy years ago, along with newspaper clippings or reports of their loved ones having been reported murdered-- but not any notice of the children being missing.

                                    -

                                    "They changed their tactics since Italy. No report was made on any of these missing children because there wasn't anyone left alive that cared about them. Yet this time, they did not murder these childrens' families..." She looked at him curiously. "Do you have any ideas why they would change their method?"

                                    • James Wolfe
                                      James Wolfe

                                      "Don't make promises you can't keep. I don't like to be disappointed," James warned. "Just say you'll do your best. That will be enough." 

                                      He did not mind Feliciana not knowing the full names of the people, and started asking for descriptions instead. He worked with trauma victims before and knew that if they did not remember something, they likely did not know it. Or, it could have been a psychological issue where their mind would blot out some memories. He was grateful at least Feliciana could remember. 

                                      He approved of Feliciana's file as he looked through it. That was very neat and orderly. 

                                      "Hmm..." he stroked his goatee as he went deep into thought. "It sounds like they are being careless now. Killing families when taking children meant a lot of work. Background checks. Making sure the child will not be missed by friends or other relatives. And covering it up so the police wouldn't notice a missing child. Either they've gotten sloppy or..." he looked slightly worried. "Impatient. Maybe they need the children for something they're planning. And they are running out of time. It's just speculation, of course, but there is a possibility." 

                                      • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                        Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                        Feliciana tensed as James made his last assumption. It was more than likely to be true than what he had previously suggested. She had the urge to just teleport them the rest of the way, but fought against it. They should not be rushing anything.

                                        -

                                        "Let's hope we can still catch them while they're still in Mexico." She sighed, remaining silent the rest of the trip

                                        .

                                        ***

                                        It took six hours to fly to the S.H.U.S.H.'s base in Mexico, Feliciana wasted no time in gathering her duffel bag and making her way off the aircraft.

                                        -

                                        Once both of them departed, a male Ocelot approached, saluting them in greeting. "Welcome to Mexico's division, Agent James Wolfe, and welcome back, Agent Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles." Her gaze went from James, to Feliciana, then back to James. "My name is Agent Amando López, I'm in charge of this facility. Perhaps you two would like to relax from the long flight before getting to business?"

                                        -

                                        "No thank you, Signore López." The blue jay responded quickly, her tone flat and serious. "We'd rather go straight for the debriefing, Agent Wolfe already has a plan to set into motion on how to nail these kidnappers."

                                        -

                                        The ocelot blinked a few times, surprised by his former employee's change of behavior before clearing his throat. "Very well, let's get to it."

                                        -

                                        Amando led the two visiting agents into one of their many debriefing rooms, sitting himself down before his eyes laid upon the wolf once more. "You have the floor, Agent Wolfe."

                                        • James Wolfe
                                          James Wolfe

                                          James just looked deadpanned at the agent who offered them relaxation. "Relax while the kidnappers are still loose? We are not here on vacation. With this attitude, it's a wonder you get things done."

                                          When they were in debriefing, James wasted no time laying down the plan.

                                          "Agent Carioca-Pistoles had been a former victim. I know you will all want answers from her, but we need to focus on the matter at hand first. From the information she had given me, I know that the kidnappers would want her back. Especially if she is... coming forward with information on the kidnappers. This is what I propose we do. Feliciana will appear on a news channel on live television, speaking out about her kidnapping and how she had 'vital information' on her kidnappers. We drag out the inteeview, making sure everyone notices the broadcast. They would want to capture and silence her, no doubt. But we would be lying in wait, capturing them before they lay hands on her."

                                          • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                            Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                            The ocelot wanted to snap a comment, but thought better of it and remained silent.

                                            -

                                            In the room other than the three of them were three other S.H.U.S.H. agents- one was a female fox with glasses and the other two were a pair of nearly identical rabbits- if it wasn't for one of them missing an eye, nobody would have been able to tell them apart.

                                            -

                                            "How are you so sure the kidnappers would want her back?" The rabbit agent with one eye asked. "If they wanted her back, they wouldn't have waited this long to do it or allow her to just escape."

                                            -

                                            "True, but they certainly would want to take action if she were to go public with her experiences." The other rabbit pointed out.

                                            -

                                            "I have a reporter that owes me a favor and is dying to be the one to cover anything on these missing kids." The fox said nonchalantly. "I'll get in contact with her and we'll set up--"

                                            -

                                            Feliciana's cellphone rang loudly, she winced and quickly took it out, looking at who was calling her before silencing it. "Sorry, sorry!"

                                            -

                                            The ocelot cleared his throat. "I want that reporter to meet us at the Starduck's by The Plaza in thirty minutes, Agent Wilde."

                                            -

                                            The fox nodded, giving a polite nod to the two visiting agents before walking off.

                                            • James Wolfe
                                              James Wolfe

                                              James was pleased that the agents were going ahead with his plan. He then added a few more suggestions. If Feliciana was to expose herself to public so easily like that, the kidnappers would be suspicious. So he proposed her identity to be censored on live TV, along with her voice. Of course, that might not attract the kidnappers enough, but he'd planned for Feliciana to ask for a glass of water during the middle of the interview, and purposely move her head out of the censoring area, revealing her face. 

                                              "What do you think, Feli?" he asked. "You know them more than we do." 

                                              He was curious about the phone call and would ask her about it privately later. 

                                              • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                                Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                                Feliciana was a little afraid of the idea. She never wanted to see any of those horrible people again- especially not Boris. 

                                                -

                                                Snapping out of her thoughts upon hearing his voice, she smiled softly hearing he called her by her nickname. She loved it when people weren't formal with her- she loved it even more when James was less formal.

                                                -

                                                "Oh, I-"

                                                -

                                                The phone went off again. "Apologies, one moment." She excused herself, walking outside the room as she answered.

                                                -

                                                If James was listening first all he would hear was silence- then a gasp followed by some sobs, then a chant. 

                                                -

                                                By the time the wolf opened the door, the blue jay vanished, leaving behind a now cracked phone.

                                                -

                                                PAPÁ

                                                CALL ENDED

                                                -

                                                The screen read.

                                                 

                                                • James Wolfe
                                                  James Wolfe

                                                  As James watxhed her leave the room, it dawned on him the realisation that he had used her nickname. How could he let this happen?? What was that look on her face? A smi- a grimace? Yes, that must be it. James felt ashamed for letting it slip like that. It was just... easier to use her actual name while he thought of her. But what was he thinking to address her like that, especially as her superior? Of course she was disgusted. He would have to apologise to her when they were alone later- 

                                                  The distressed noises she was making snapped him out of his thoughts and he went outside to check on her in concern. 

                                                  "Agent Carioca-Pistoles...?" 

                                                  His eye fell on the cracked phone and he put his fingers to his face, massaging his temples. This. This was what he was afraid of. Bloody hell, Feli, why are you like this?? 

                                                  This was, of course, not an exclamation he made aloud as he snapped on his rubber gloves (just in case) and picked up the phone, swiping the screen to call the most recent contact. 

                                                  "Hello? Is this Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles' father?" he asked when he heard the receiver being picked up. 

                                                  • Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles
                                                    Feliciana Carioca-Pistoles

                                                    "Feliciana, no vayas despues-!!" The rooster began shouting in panic, stopping due to hearing that it was not his daughter he was talking to...Which only made him even more panicked. 

                                                    -

                                                    "Yes, I am, my name is Panchito Pistoles...And the fact that you answered her phone and not mi querida princesa means--" He stopped talking a moment before continuing. "Wait, who is this answering her phone and why do you sound like a boy?!" Oh good, his father mode activated.  "Are you her boyfriend?!"

                                                    • James Wolfe
                                                      James Wolfe

                                                      "Indeed," James grumbled, finishing Feliciana's father's unfinished thought for him. "Tell me. Is she usually this thick-headed...?" 

                                                      Pistoles' last words made him splutter. "Ex-excuse me??" he demanded. "I'm her superior, Agent Wolfe. Now, where is Feliciana? We are laying a trap in thirty minutes and she is a vital part of the plan!"