"Let's begin this inquiry," Colonel Trask said. He was sitting in a semi-circle with five other high ranking officers. "Miss Bowman, what were you doing before the power went out?"
"I was reading the collected novels and stories involving Sherlock Holmes," Sirvanna said.
"Were you alone at the time?"
"No," Sirvanna said. "Undine was around."
"And what was she doing?"
"She was just hanging out," Sirvanna said. "She complained about being bored and just sat down."
"Did she ever leave?"
"No, she was there the whole time," Sirvanna said.
"How were you able to tell?"
"She can go too fast for the naked eye," Sirvanna said. "But the door was closed and she couldn't have snuck off without stirring up a breeze that I would have noticed."
"And what did you do when the power went out?"
"At first I thought it was just a power outage so I went to find a torch," Sirvanna said.
"What did Miss Reyes do?"
"She went with me," Sirvanna said. "And she made some flirtatious comments about ways to occupy ourselves in the dark."
"What happened when the alarm sounded?"
"I sent Undine ahead," Sirvanna said. "When I arrived Aurora was feeling ill. Pixie filled me in on the situation so I sent Mara and Sylph to guard the perimetre so the culprit or culprits couldn't escape."
"And what did you do?"
"I went to examine the power station," Sirvanna said. "I couldn't due to the repair teams so I went to check the command centre. Nothing appeared amiss so I returned to the others."
"You may go, Miss Bowman" Trask said. "Leave out the side door."
Sirvanna nodded and shuffled out of the room. Trask grabbed his radio. "Send in Miss Reyes."
The group shuffled their papers when the front door opened. Ines was standing in front of them before they could look up.
"Yo!" Ines said.
"Miss Reyes," Trask began "What were you doing before the power went out?"
"Thinking," Ines answered. "There wasn't anything else to do on the base."
"Were you alone?"
"No," Ines said. "I was with Sirvanna. She was reading something or other."
"Why were you around her if you weren't going to interact?"
"No real reason," Ines said. "I just like to be around her."
"What did you do when the power went out?"
"Suggested that me and Sirvanna..." Ines paused "...play, but she wanted to be boring and find a light."
"Do you often flirt with your squadmates?"
"Define 'often'," Ines said.
"Never mind," Trask said. "What happened when the alarm went off?"
"Sirvanna sent me ahead," Ines said. "Katelyn told me there might be an intruder so I combed the are several times to check it out."
"Did you see anything suspicious?"
"The generator was down," Ines said. "Other than that there was nothing of interest."
"You didn't see anyone?"
"Just our own soldiers and techs," Ines said.
"How do you explain that?"
"Best guess is that it was an enemy plaguer who could teleport, turn invisible or shapeshift," Ines said.
"That will be all Miss Reyes," Trask said. "Go out the side door and wait with Miss Bowman."
He grabbed his radio "Send in Miss Richards."
"Something's been bugging me lately. I don't mean to pry, but is Zhao really older than you?" Jenny asked.
"She is," he answered. "By several years in fact."
"How is that possible?" Jenny asked.
"Zhao's body hasn't aged since I met her," he answered. "I can only deduce that it's an unexpected result of her gift similar to the hair colour changes some of us underwent." He shrugged. "Of course, she is the only one I've met with such a side effect and, unfortunately, I can't tell you why. I've given her periodic exams, tested her cell structure, brain chemistry and everything else in an attempt to isolate those factors which resulted in her ageless body, but my efforts have been fruitless. All I can tell you for certain is that her body doesn't age but her brain does. It's quite a fascinating puzzle really." He stretched an open hand back to her. "Would you care for a kinder egg? They're quite good."
"Thank you, Sir," Jenny said. "So, why treat her like a child?"
"I don't," he said. "No more than anyone else, anyway."
"Is that so?" Jenny asked. "Well, I have to get back. She needs me to model that stupid power armour."
"Have fun," he said. "Oh, and take an egg for her too."
"Now, Mr Washington says that your partner was acting strange, how do you explain that?"
"Of course she's strange," Katelyn said "she's a plaguer. We aren't exactly the nuclear family down the street."
"So, you attribute her behaviour to the fact that she's a plaguer?"
"No," Katelyn said. "I attribute it to her being a muppet."
"This is a serious inquiry Miss Kyle," Trask said. "It's not the time for sarcasm."
"My watch must be off then," Katelyn said.
"And what happened when the other members of your squad arrived?"
"We got naked and danced in a circle to bring in the solstice," Katelyn said. "We went looking for the culprit, of course. Yuni and I stayed near the barracks in case it was an attempt to take out the soldiers or worse, to steal my pillow. Ines went to run around. Alena and Alexa went to patrol the perimetre and Sirvanna went off to look things over."
"Did you see anything suspicious?"
"Now that you mention it," Katelyn said. "I saw a bunch of dudes in uniform carrying guns."
"You saw our own troops?"
"Are you admitting to something, Colonel?" Katelyn asked.
"Get out of my sight, Miss Kyle."
"So, behind you then?" Katelyn asked.
Katelyn joined the others. "I didn't know I was the last one," she said.
"Yeah," Alexa said. "It wouldn't have been such a pain if our fearless leader hadn't been useless in an emergency."
"Say that again and to my face!" Sirvanna said.
"Gladly," Alexa said. The little conference room filled with lightning and wind. The cameras were quickly destroyed. An electronic bug was tossed in the air where Ines caught and crushed it.
"We're clear!" she called.
The lightning and wind died down immediately.
"We don't have long until they come to investigate," Sirvanna said. "I'd just like to say three things. The first is that you all did really well. The second is that I have no intention of letting anyone here die. If that means we have to play both sides on occasion, then so be it. You're my squad and I will keep you safe. Even so, I think it's important that we try to win this. Even if it's flawed, this is our country and we should protect it. Now, any questions will have to wait until we ren't under tough scrutiny. Until that happens no one is to mention any of this." She and Alexa locked their arms.
Colonel Trask came in with Benton and a group of soldiers. "What is going on?" he demanded.
Sirvanna and Alexa split. "A slight discipline problem, Sir," Sirvanna answered.
"Take it outside next time!" Trask cried. "Never mind, we have a new mission for you."