A Day in the Light

Site Director Sophia Light sat back in her chair, mulling over thr containment revisons before her. Expensive as hell, yes, but it wasn't like anything else could work for this anomaly. It had chewed its way through six inches of solid steel like it was cardboard.

But Telekill? She'd have better luck getting her hands on a room made out of solid gold, and for good reason. She saw the reports. It only took a couple of months working around the substance until you lost whatever language skills you had. Several hundred staffers had been affected by it, and about a quarter of them would never talk again. It cost the Foundation a small fortune to replace it all.

But on the other hand… Sophia picked up the file again, skimming over the incident report. Eighty-six civilians killed in under a day when it had breached containment during the full moon. Cover ups like that didn't exactly come cheap.

Sophia picked up the phone, dialed a number, and waited. When the automated voice began telling her she had selected a number that wasn't in use by the Foundation's network, she dialed a string of twenty-seven characters she had been given upon promotion.

"Hello, you've reached the Site-99 internal messaging system. To place a call-"

"The sparrow's call is sweet," she said.

There was a click and a brief dial tone, before it was picked up by a male voice. "Good morning, Director Light. What can I do for you?"

"I have a set of contaiment revisions that requires a level 5 overwrite," she said, drumming her fingers on the desk. Despite making the same type of call dozens of times over the years, she still got a little queasy whenver she had to speak to an Overseer. Even as a Site Director, she had never met any of them face-to-face, only through carefully encrypted phonecalls. "I'd like to make an appointment to speak to the Overseer next week to discuss it."

"Hmm…" Sophia could hear a soft rustling of paper on the other end, as the secretary (or personal assistant- she had never known much about the voice) flipped through the calendar. "'I'm sorry, the Overseer is on vacation until the end of the month. Can I pencil you in for the third?"

Vacation? If she hadn't gone through an elaborate passcode just to speak to him, she'd almost think it was a prank. In fact, there was a tiny part of her that still believed that.

Overseers taking vacations? It just sounded so bizarre, to imagine the faceless leader of one of the most clandestine organizations in the world doing something so mundane as "taking time off." Hell, Sophia was a Site Director, and she could barely find enough time in between mountains of paperwork to breath. An Overseer acting as something other than a faceless voice that authorized her missions and approved her containment procedures just sounded… unnatural.

"Director Light?"

Sophia snapped herself out of her daze. "Oh, sorry, yes, the third should be fine. I'll call him first thing in the morning, then. Goodbye."

Sophia sat at her chair, all questions of containment revisions banished momentarily from her mind, wondering about one simple questions:

What did Overseers do on vacation?

O5-4 took a breath of the fresh Italian air, and smiled.

It'd been too long since he had done anything other than work. The life of an Overseer wasn't as exciting as the gossip around site water coolers made it sounded. "Existenial dread and paperwork", as his predessscor had put it before handing over the job.

He looked around. It was almost funny. Here he was, ne of the most powerful people on the planet sitting in a cafe in a sea of tourists like a upperclass businessman on vacation.

O5-4 wondered about the other overseers. Aside from O5-1, he barely saw any of them in person. What did they do when they weren't working? One was almost shackled to the job, but ther others? Did they have families, or loved ones that they were hding? Did they have a particular show that they had taped for them? Hell, what kind of food did they like to eat?

O5-4 turned to look at the two men on the other side of the cafe. Casually dressed, chatting while they examined the menu. Brothers, or perhaps lovers, if someone was openminded enough. On the otherside, there was a woman working ona crossword puzzle. Outside the cafe, another man was enjoying his tea.

O5-4 stood up, making his way out of the cafe. One by one, the four members of Red Right Hand made their excuses and followed him outside. Four agents on foot, and a squadcar positioned nearby if they ran into trouble. Add to that the mobile command center that was burshing his image out of every security camera and toursit snap, and he had a small army protecting him.

He sighed, remembering the days when he could walk out in public without the weight of the world on his shoulders. He missed those days. THey used to be a ragtag gang of scientists in a lab, a handful of curiosities and relics to their name. Back before any of them really knew what they were getting into.

Just for the briefest of moments, O5-4 considered quitting. Once you got to anywhere around level 3 clearance, quitting was almost unheard of. Most people called it dedication, O5-4 called it Stockholm Syndrome. An overseer quitting? Never had been done before.

He considered what would happen. Would they amnectize him? That'd be a chore. Perhaps hey'd assign him a small stable of guards, allow him to retire to some private, secret sanctuary, where he'd be within reach if they ever needed his expertise.

Of course, they could always just shoot him. That'd be easier.

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