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This is the beginning of their first mission, so comes before almost everything.
They had their assignment.
They had several assignments. There was the primary mission and two spoken secondary missions. There were their individual assignments, overt and covert. And there were a couple that did not come from their nominal leaders.
They had their gear.
Alexa had her Diplomat Clothes, wrinkle-resistant, fast-drying, and professional-looking in almost any environment.
Cole had his weapons. All of them. He had basic survival gear and a full uniform with no insignia anywhere. And he had weapons.
Josie had her backpacking gear and an apothacary’s worth of herbal… things. Nobody knew what they were for, but they were light.
Peter had his instruments, and then some more instruments, and a large pad of paper. Nobody knew what they were all for, and some of them were heavy, but Peter carried them all.
Xenia had her weapons, her climbing gear, her survival gear, and her weapons. She weighed every single item, and discarded anything that would weigh her down.
Aerich, as far as they could tell, planned on going forth with an expensive suit, a stunning chin, and monumental arrogance. Very few of these weighed anything, at least.
They had their team.
Xenia shared a look with Cole. Both of them looked at Peter; Xenia’s lip curled. Cole glanced at Aerich, his hand resting on his gun. Aerich’s lip curled at Josie. Josie’s nose wrinkled at Xenia. Xenia looked sidelong at Alexa. And Alexa was giving Peter the stinkeye.
They had their door.
Alexa. It all came down to Aleandra Bianchi. Cole stepped up to one side of her, Xenia to the other. This ought to be a military operation. It ought to be an exploratory mission. Instead, it all hinged on a former diplomat with a barely-tested ability to open doors into other worlds.
Peter ran his instruments over the doorway – deep in the archives of the university, well-camouflaged by opening, mundanely, to a supply room full of microfiche. Three of his instruments screamed at him every time they got near. It was definitely The Door.
They had their orders. Alexa opened the Door. Six mavericks stepped into the doorway.
A team would step out.
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