The skies were covered in gloomy, dark clouds; rain threatened to fall and winds were beginning to pick up speed. Leaves of all colors covered the ground, rustling just slightly as he made his way through them.
Stopping just in front of large black gates, Hayden gazed at the building that stood just beyond. Glass covered the sides of the building, reflecting the light of the morning sun directly at him. Squinting through the bright light, he looked up at the gates that loomed far over his head.
The Forensics Criminal Investigative Agency. A branch of the FBI that had recently been divided into a separate agency that specialized in high profile cases, especially those involving notable public figures or criminals particularly deemed dangerous to the public. Its director, Marcus Connelly, was a young former FBI senior agent, known for his unique—but effective—approaches to capturing criminals.
One fact about the FCIA that was not released to the public—its possession of exceptional technology that allowed for the efficient detection and persecution of perpetrators. Each team possessed such a device and each device had a different role in solving a case. The Rolmac team—the team Hayden was assigned to—possessed the VsFB, a device that allowed the team to hear the final words of the victim. While such evidence could not be used in a court of law to persecute the perpetrator, it had its uses.
A voice echoed from the speaker attached to the gate, starling Hayden from his thoughts.
“Ah….Hayden Griffith. I am part of the Rolmac team starting today.”
There was silence for a moment, leading Hayden to wonder if he had said something wrong.
“I see. Agents are to enter through the side gate. Your ID should open the gates.”
The voice was notably more hostile than before. Or perhaps he was over thinking it…
As per instructions, he made his way to the side of the building. Two guards stood guard at this entrance, which was strange, considering that there had not been any security at the front gate.
The guards simply took a glance at him, then proceeded to turn forward, a grim line on their faces.
Maybe he had not been clear enough in his greeting.
“My name is Hayden Griffith. I’m starting today…”
The guards didn’t show any sign of having heard him, so Hayden continued, albeit reluctantly.
“I was told that agents are to enter here…”
Again, no response.
One of the two guards jerked his head toward a small touchpad embedded onto the gate. Hayden gazed at the device, then back to the two guards.
A man’s voice came from behind him. The guards frowns quickly shifted to smiles as they greeted the man—presumably another agent.
Hayden scanned their faces for a moment before turning to the newcomer.
His brown hair was brushed neatly and gelled into place. Underneath his FCIA jacket, he wore a cleanly pressed dress shirt and a tie. Confidence radiated from him from his stance alone. Unlike the guards, the man gave him a grin as soon as their eyes met.
His cheerfulness and enthusiasm was contagious.
“So you’re Hayden? My name is Cadmus. Cadmus Nevitt. But Cad is fine.” It seemed like he had heard the words that Hayden had exchanged with the guards earlier. “I’m what you would call the co-leader of the team. Or well, I like to call myself the co-leader.” He laughed. “Well, if you’re ready, let’s make our way inside!”
With one swipe of his hand, Cadmus ran his ID through the scanner, which glowed blue. The gates opened with a loud creak. “Scan your ID there. It’ll also scan your fingerprint. FCIA precautions.”
Hayden did as he was told and the touchpad glowed again.
“Great! Let’s go in.” Cadmus made his way in first, leaving Hayden trotting after him. Their height difference was quite noticeable. The agent was probably around the same height as his father, Hayden guessed, and Hayden had to walk twice as fast to keep up with the long strides that Cadmus made.
“Don’t worry about them. They’re not supposed to show emotion—or so they claim. In reality, they’re probably just trying to scare you. They do that to newbies.” Cadmus gave him a reassuring smile. “Actually, you’ll find that most of the agents will do that to you here for a while. Dan will, I bet.”
Seeing Hayden’s confusion, Cadmus clarified, “Oh right, Dan is our leader. He might look intimidating at first, but he’s nothing but a teddy bear with a permanent frown etched on his face. Ah, but don’t tell him that I said that. Tell him that you heard it in the lobby.” With a mischievous grin, the agent continued. “I’m sure Leanne and Evie would love to meet you. Evie’s been practically bouncing off the walls ever since that we got news that we would get a new agent on our team.”
They had entered the FCIA lobby. The floor was covered with black marble, polished to perfection. Sleet blue sofas stood to their left on top of a gray carpet. Several agents were resting there, whispering something to themselves. It seemed like they were being watched.
“Oh but, do me a favor?”
“Yes?” Hayden looked at Cadmus curiously.
“You see, I didn’t get my coffee yet today. Overslept a little.” He scratched his head sheepishly. “I would appreciate it if you could help me carry some cups? Wish I could grow some more hands, but…” He chuckled, “Well, coffee will help dispel some of Dan’s irritation. He’s not a morning person. Or well…I guess he’s not an afternoon…or evening person either…” With a shrug, Cadmus led him to the lobby coffee shop. The smell of freshly brewed coffee filled the air along with the chatter from nearby agents, which overpowered the low rumbling of what seemed like a coffee grounds processor.
Cadmus ran through the basics of FCIA: its background, the creation of teams, and the story behind their team, the Criminal Investigative Unit. Hayden looked at him in awe, wondering how he could remember and list off so much. After a while, he stopped, and gave him another cheerful grin.
“But I’m talking too much. Though wait until you meet Evie. Try not to lose your ears just yet, you’ll need them later.” It was then that they had arrived at the front of the line. Four orders were made, then the agent turned to him. “And what would you like, Hayden?”
“Huh? Ah, no that’s okay, I’m not much of a coffee person…”
Cadmus looked almost comedically shocked at his response. “Don’t worry, you’ll be one soon!” The agent replied with certainty before turning back to the cashier. “And a cup of ice water please.”
“I’m glad cupholders are a thing…” With the three coffee cups in the cupholder and his own in his hand, they were taking the elevator to the fifth floor. Hayden wondered why he was asked to come along in the first place, seeing as Cadmus didn’t need his help at all. He held the cup of water in his hands that Cadmus had gotten for him, insisting that he couldn’t let any of his agents leave a coffee shop empty handed.
The doors opened with a high pitched ding. Agents filled the room, some standing alone the hallways. All eyes turned toward them as the elevator opened and suddenly, it felt like déjà vu again like in the lobby. Did they really draw that much attention?
“Good morning!” Cadmus’s voice rang out and murmurs of greetings came from the agents in response.
“Good morning…” Again, a murmur of responses. Their eyes were still directed on the pair, however.
“Don’t mind them. Let’s go.” A low, reassuring whisper from Cadmus. He made his way through the rest of the agents and Hayden followed in turn.
“This is our place.” Cadmus stopped in front of a door. The letters C, I, and U were carved in a silver plaque and hung in front of the door. Underneath, the words “Criminal Investigative Unit” could be seen. “Sorry, could you get the door for me?”
“Ah, of course!” Hayden stepped forward to reach for the doorknob, only to pull back—though slightly too late—when the door opened on its own.
“-should be here-“
The door slammed open, startling Hayden backwards. A female agent, her light brown hair cut into a bob, looked equally surprised.
“Ah! I’m so sorry about that! I didn’t think there would be someone behind the door! I didn’t mean to startle you, I promise! But ah, you must be Hayden! We were told that you’d me coming today and I’ve been dying to meet you! Well, not literally, but you get the point. Which, now that I think about it, that phrase doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I mean, why would someone be dying to meet someone. Oh, is that for me?” It seemed that she had finally noticed Cadmus, who had his usual grin on his face.
“Evie. You forgot something.” Nonetheless, he nodded to a cup on the cupholder, which she took gratefully before giving him a look of confusion.
“Huh? …………oh right! Did I not introduce myself? My bad! I go off on tangents sometimes. People tell me that it’s a bad habit, but I don’t think it is, do you? It gets people to talk, so it all works out in the end. I’m Evie Kirchner. Actually, my real name is Evelyn, but no one really calls me that. My mom used to only call me that when I got in trouble, so it still freaks me out when someone calls me by my full name even today and-”
“Evie, you’re scaring him.” Another female agent came out from the room. Her dark hair was braided neatly over her right shoulder. She had a gentle smile on her face. “Hayden? My name is Leanne Landreth. We’re also in the CIU. I suppose that Cad explained everything to you?” With a nod from Cadmus in confirmation, she continued, “Well then, please don’t hesitate to ask us anything if you have any questions. It can be quite overwhelming on your first day.” She took a cup from Cadmus, thanking him as she did so.
“It’s nice to meet you both.” He could already see that this would be one interesting team.
“Have you met the boss yet? Just you wait! Oh, but don’t worry, he looks like he’ll bite your head off, but in reality, he’ll probably just hold you in his jaws for a while until you’re adequate enough to his standards. Then he’ll throw you to the side. Won’t lose any limbs, I promise! Though you might be bruised and battered and maybe quite mentally scarred by the time it’s over, but he doesn’t mean anything bad!” Evie reassured him with Leanne and Cadmus simply smiling at him. Was their boss that intimidating?
“Can someone explain why we’re talking in the hallway and not inside?”
The voice startled him and he turned, only to find himself nearly face-to-face with a grim faced agent, who had stealthily somehow managed to make his way right next to Hayden without Hayden even noticing.
With a deepening frown, the man began to visually scrutinize Hayden. His black hair was neatly brought back on his head. He wore a black dress shirt and gray trousers; his ID hung from the shirt pocket reading “Daniel Rolmac”.
“Oh, nice timing, Boss! This is-“
“Hayden Griffith.” Dan interrupted Evie’s ramblings. She didn’t seem to mind, however, and nodded enthusiastically.
“Yep! Isn’t he cute? So innocent! Try not to rip him up too much, we need him intact for now! After all, I don’t think a half-eaten agent will be of help at all. Honestly, a half-eatened anything isn’t really all that useful. Well, unless you consider that half-eaten food is still food and it’s still edible, even though it is half-eaten. I would eat it if I was really hungry. Half-eaten food is still better than no food. But a half-eaten Hayden won’t be any good, so don’t eat him up too quickly!” Turning to Hayden she grinned, “Of course, I don’t mean literally. That would be unethical…and wrong on so many levels. After all-”
“We have a case.” Evie stopped midsentence at Dan’s words and her eyes lit up. Dan made his way into the room, stopping only to grab the remaining coffee cup from Cadmus, followed by Leanne and Evie.
“Yep, that’s everyone.” Cad chuckled. “Welcome to the team!”