Poison Wing converges at Fisherman’s Wharf to compare notes, interrupted by a delicious lunch of crab and cioppino. Present are Agent Holly, Agent Amy, Agent Peyote, and Agent Nico. Over chocolate cake and espresso, they assemble a timeline for sightings of Agent Wander over the past couple of weeks:
- 3 am Fisherman’s Wharf
- afternoon Mission Bart
- Cirque des Moitié
- 2 erotic dungeons owned by
They discover that the silver-painted mime is in fact shadowkind, with indistinct features; perhaps a doppelganger.
They notice a short woman with red hair and a Cuthbert’s beret nearby and go talk to her.
“Hi, we’re with Department-7. We’re looking for this man,” says Agent Holly, showing her a picture of Agent Wander on her phone.
“I haven’t seen him, but I think he did ,” she replies, pointing to an Asian man nearby also wearing a Cuthbert’s beret.
“Thank you very much.” They walk over to the man she indicated.
“Hi, I’m Agent Holly, and we’re with Department-7. We were told you saw this man coming out of the water.”
“My name is Bob. I saw a guy come out of a submersible, but I didn’t see his face, so I can’t tell if this is him or not. I took a picture and sent it to headquarters, that’s all I know. I got a whiff of him though.” Bob is a moreau with features reminiscent of a Pekingese. “If you bring me something this guy wore, I can tell you if he was the one I saw.”
“We may be able to do that. Let’s exchange numbers so I can reach you after I’ve spoken with headquarters.” Bob exchanges digits with Agent Holly. “Can you show us the location you spotted the man emerging from the water?”
“Sure. It’s down this way.” Bob leads them to an old, unused pier.
As Agent Holly leans over the edge of the pier to peer down at the pilings, she hears a knife opening behind her. “He’s a traitor!” she yells, and jumps to the water below.
“What traytor?” asks Agent Amy. “It means he’s a bad guy,” says Agent Peyote. “Grab him!”
“Ooh-kay.” Bob brandishes his knife, but Agent Amy easily envelops him in a bear hug. “Urk!” Agent Nico unsuccessfully attempts to grab Bob’s knife.
Meanwhile, Agent Holly swallows some San Francisco Bay water as well as some unnameable floating solid. She swims to the nearest piling, and her hand strikes something she does not see. She reaches the ladder rungs on the piling, and climbs up them, slipping once on the slimy rebar.
When Agent Holly reaches the pier, she is cold, shivering, thankful for the unusually warm weather, and relieved to see Bob restrained. She calls up Agent Steele, and informs him of the murder attempt. “Bring him in. I’m calling Donny right now.” Agent Nico runs off to bring the van. “Why did you do that?” she asks Bob.
Bob stares at her silently.
“What shall we do, Agent Steele?”
“If he won’t talk, kill him,” says Agent Steele loudly enough for Bob to hear. “Excuse me, I need to have a discussion with Donny. See you in a few minutes.” He hangs up.
“You heard the boss,” says Agent Holly. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way.”
“I ain’t gonna say anything, they’ll kill me!”
“You might last longer if you cooperate.”
“Squeeze tighter, Amy.” Bob’s eyes go wide and his face flushes.
“Arright, arright!” he gasps.
“Stop squeezing, Amy. You were saying, Bob?”
“It was some of Culling’s goons,” he whispers in a tiny voice. “A few days after I sent in the pictures, they told me to keep my mouth shut about what I’d seen. And that I’d better not let anyone poke around down there if I wanted to keep on breathing. Can I leave town now?”
“You’ve just attempted to murder an agent of Department-7. I don’t think we’re quite done with you yet.”
Back in a briefing room at the Presidio, Agent Holly recounts the events to Agent Steele. “I also felt some kind of invisible submarine thing.” Everyone but Agent Amy raises their eyebrows.
“Very interesting. I’ll send a crew to retrieve it immediately so that our forensic team can analyze it. In the meantime, you have a couple of new additions to the wing,” says Agent Steele, as he does something with his phone. The door opens, and two people step through it and close the door behind them. “Agent Leelawadee, Agent Jimsonweed, you are now members of Poison Wing. Meet your new commander, Agent Holly. I understand you all have a bacchanal to attend tonight, so you should get to know each other rather well.”
After a round of greetings, the members of Poison Wing begin to plan their attire, including Kevlar corsets, garlic grenades, and holy water pistols. Chocolate-covered garlic seems a good choice for Agent Amy.