Chapter 2

7.2K 383 74
                                    

The discussion on tardiness continued for another half hour before I was able to steer them back to the real reason that we were there. Operation Nightingale.

It was a simple enough request from the board – infiltrate the team, get close to them, discover exactly what damage was done when 'She' left and use my considerable talents to help rebuild that family.

The ruse was straightforward. I was starting an internship under the family lead and Academy liaison, at the Aquarium – that Marine Biology course I bugged Uncle Phil to let me take would finally come in handy! He would be made aware of certain details of my past, which, of course, we knew he would share with his family. I was to share additional information as situations were presented for me to do so. He knew that I was an adopted member of Dr Roberts and Mrs Rose's families, and that for all intents and purposes, I was their niece.

Phil had asked Axel, as a personal favour, to allow me to be his shadow at the aquarium and to see if he couldn't get me to go out into the world a bit more and to open up to people again. I had cringed when he used those words, but I knew he was right. For the last 2 years I had spent most of my time on my own, fulfilling only my minimum obligation as an Academy Lawyer, Psychologist and Accountant, working with specifically chosen families. Axel, of course, was not able to refuse, it was a request from one of the most respected Academy heads after all, and I was presented as someone broken who needed to be fixed, to find their way in the world again.

This assignment was about more than just helping to rebuild Toma Family. Yes, their family was fractured and needed help, but so did I. After New York, I had a very hard time finding my way again. Letting people in was difficult. The fact that I could work with an Academy team to resolve my own issues, was a plus, as I already knew they were good, trustworthy people. What I needed to know, now, was how much information Axel had been given and exactly what he was told.

"Dr Roberts!" I bellowed when he spun off into another tirade about how appalling the manners of today's youth were. He was right, both Aunt Rose and I knew it, but once he gained momentum on that slippery slope there would be no stopping him.

A look of complete horror passed across his face, he hated when I called him Dr Roberts and I hated having to do it but sometimes it was the only way for me to get his attention. "I apologise," he started, voiding his face of the hurt that had just been there.

"No need," I responded as Aunt Rose's shoulders shook with laughter. "Normally I would have agreed and even joined you on that topic, but we are running out of time before I need to go and you still have not told me what information they were given!" I was starting to get a little agitated, as he was the one to insist on having this meeting to fill me in and now here he was doing his best to avoid it.

We locked eyes across the meeting table and began what would be a short-lived staring competition. Neither of us wanted to back down, but he knew I was right. If I wanted to be able to make a smooth transition into the Toma family, I would need to know what they have been told.

"First," he started, "I need to know that you have actually done your homework. Tell me about the team you will be reaching out to."

"Axel Toma –Academy Liaison, Native American, love of marine life and bioluminescence, enjoys scuba diving.

"Marc Weiland – Team lead, coffee connoisseur, enjoys snowboarding, and a fully accredited yoga instructor.

"Yevgeny 'Raven' Ravenstahl – professional Russian, Guns and Ammunition expert, the preferred trainer of Academy recruits. He also has a habit of confusing his English sayings, but for the most part you can work out what he means.

FracturedWhere stories live. Discover now