3 June 188x,NByr 6
Jed scooted down a little further under the covers and stretched. Builder’s square but my head aches, she thought. The party had been formal but impromptu, and while for the life of her she could not recall meeting the host before the hearty handshake at the door of the place, he acted as if they had been friends forever. The music was light and the crowd very eager to see just how far the host’s bar tab would run, and she did her duty to assist in that endeavor.
She rolled onto her stomach and stretched her arm across to the other side of the bed. Her outstretched limb and questing fingers found the space on the other side to be unoccupied. She’s probably still at Aunt Aki’s house, Jed thought. Kimika said she might stay for a bit longer just to catch up and somehow Jed knew the poor thing would be listening to her go on about that kōmōgaijin her niece was living with. Rather like when Father brought Surima home to London for the first time, way back when…and then, it hit her. Maybe it was the hangover, or old age, or maybe even becoming complacent, but suddenly in a rush Jed had a feeling that something was horribly off in the world at the moment.
Her arm snaked out from the covers and reflexively aimed for the watch that sat on the nightstand beside the bed. It was a part of her daily ritual, to retrieve the silver cased railroad chronograph and wind it before getting out of bed, to sit for a moment and listen to the precise ticking of the movement, knowing the world was in order. Jed started awake, mind racing, because her hand found only air where the nightstand should have been. Suddenly attuned to the world around her, she knew that everything was not as it should be. She was not home.
“Good morning Morrigan. I hope you slept well?” The man’s voice was smooth and low, with the clipped intonation that betrayed an expensive English education. Jed rolled to her side and looked out from under the blanket. The room was plainly furnished and had adobe walls. It was unoccupied as far as she could see save for herself and the man who sat in the chair opposite the bed. He was wholly unremarkable in dress as well as appearance, and her experience taught her that this was done as a specific means to an end. His suit was plain, but had the alteration to the right side to more easily conceal the object that rode unseen at his hip. Jed didn’t recognize the man, but he had all the hallmarks of someone who worked for her former employer. Somehow she did not take this as a positive sign. She looked at him with a long hard look that did manage to get the point across. He shifted in his seat as she sat up.
“Care to explain this? Was the recall code not enough last time?”
The man smiled a very unconvincing smile, and uncrossed his legs. “I believe it was when you told the after action team what they could do with what and when and to whom that forced us to take a less conventional approach to enlisting your services again.” He gestured off to his left out the window. “Welcome back to Santa Marta. It seems that you will finally get to finish that assignment from twenty years ago.”