Blastwave strode through the doors of the SEA's temporary headquarters, and then rocked back on her heels, wincing as she looked around the office at the three people already in it. “Sorry, sir, I didn't realize…” She started.
“Don't worry about it.” Sitting at her desk, Director Katy Lee looked up with a smile, leaning back in her chair. Her left arm was in a splint, there was a pair of crutches leaning against the desk next to her, and her face was a mass of healing bruises, but she looked as energetic as ever. “I'm just finishing my debriefing. Gentlemen?” She looked across the table at the two men sitting in front of her, a study in contrasts.
“Mm, yes.” Across from her, Jason Wydemere smiled apologetically. The Witch Doctor was looking slightly better than Danger Ace, his medical nanites having nearly completely healed him already. “I'm sorry to say that I can't take you up on your offer, Director. I realize that the SEA is understaffed, but I've had enough of combat duties to last me a lifetime.”
“I see.” Danger Ace frowned, but nodded. “What will you be doing, if I might ask?”
“Teaching, actually. I've been offered a position at the Institute for Applied Villainy, and I've decided to accept it.” Jason bowed politely. “It's been a pleasure, Director.”
“I, on the other hand, would be delighted.” Towering over the Witch Doctor, Chad smiled broadly. “Honestly, the last year was pretty crazy, but it was also a lot of fun. I'd like to keep at it. Don't have a codename…” He trailed off with a sigh.
“I might be able to help you, there.” Director Lee passed a folder to Chad, who took it with a raised eyebrow. “Agent Cinderstorm is retiring after the events he went through on Sayleen. His codename is opening up, and he approved passing it to you.”
“Cinderstorm…” Chad trailed off, and grinned. “I like it.”
“Excellent. Welcome aboard, Agent Cinderstorm.” She looked over to Blastwave, as the Witch Doctor nodded and made his exits.
“Congratulations, Agent.” Blastwave smiled to Chad, who nodded back, then turned her attention to her boss. “How's Auger doing?”
“Recovering slowly. Apparantly, being zombified while still alive is hard on the muscles.” Danger Ace smiled sadly. “Looking forwards to getting back to work, of course. And you? How's our prisoner report?”
“I've finished the prisoner statements from Doctor Ecchs, Phil, Lord Mayhem, Clockwork, Warzone, and Malleus Kaine. Nothing too surprising, I'm afraid.” Blastwave smiled, dropping a memory stick on the desk. “The Oligarchs aren't saying much, but they don't have to. We have the Witch Doctor's deposition on the subject. We're getting a bit more out of Rex Mundi's folk. Ecchs has given us the codes to shut down the Ash drones that are ravaging Sayleen. We've got our scientists checking them, of course. Don't want another invasion already. We've also got Psiborg's remains in the lab, in case they start to self-repair or something, but that's not looking likely. Still no sign of Doctor Byron, though, and that's the one place that our chatty doctor shuts up fast.”
“She'll be back.” Danger Ace said dourly. “They always come back.”
Blastwave nodded. “Ecchs felt similarly. He admitted to having left the blueprints for the device in her pocket computer. We don't have a firm timeline on how long that'll take, though. I'd be surprised if she can get back in under a year.”
“Great. Have a seat.” Danger Ace gestured to the seat that Jason had just vacated, and Blastwave sank into it with a sigh. “We've got our troops from Sayleen coming back, now – Highbrow just got back today, and more are coming in, so you guys can take a couple of days off. I'm cutting the SEA down to twelve regional bases for the time being, until recruitment lets us start reopening some of the others. Given our recent situation…”
“Actually…” Blastwave interjected. Director Lee and Chad both turned to look at her. “I was sort of hoping to get a personal leave.”
Director Lee chuckled. “Travelling, Agent?”
“How'd you guess?” Blastwave said with a wry smile.
“I heard that the Champions were planning on accompanying Carath Jhim back to Sayleen next week.” Director Lee said. “I thought you might want to be going with them.”
“Well… yes.” Blastwave nodded. “I know that we're understaffed, but…”
“Not a problem. Here's your new assignment.” Director Lee handed it to Blastwave, who was frowning. “I'm rotating a few of our agents to Sayleen to help with reconstruction. You, Eclipse, and a few field agents. We'll look into transferring you back to the Patchwork City branch when you're done up there.”
Blastwave broke out in a smile. “Thank you, sir!” She said.
“No problem. Go get her.” Director Lee nodded. “Dismissed.”
Blastwave stood, saluted, and all but dashed out the door. Danger Ace chuckled. “Ah, young love.”