Chapter 63: Intimations

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"So, what they're prepared to offer is to reinstate your good names. Any charges that were filed in your previous names surrounding what happened at MSI are to be rescinded, as if they never occurred. Any holds or watches that were placed on those names will be lifted and you will be free to return to the United States at any time."

"Like we'd want to go back there," Kate said in a dark undertone.

William sighed. "I can understand why you wouldn't; however, I've discussed it with my superiors, and they've agreed that while you're on American soil doing this job for us that they'll pay your salaries here and that you'll be officially acting as ambassadorial staff while you're there. So, obviously special law will apply to you – they can't just make people like that disappear."

Lex lifted an eyebrow as she thought about that, watching the fingers of her free hand trace infinity symbols on the table in front of her. She noticed Casey looking her way as she looked up and met her friend's gaze, unable to decipher what she read there.

"At any rate, I'm going to leave these here for you to review," William continued, pulling a thick stack of manila folders from his briefcase. "These are details of the cases we'd like you to look into. Please, have a look to see what you think. As I mentioned, not only do we plan to protect and reward you, but you could protect innocent people from being injured or killed. Also, if there are other reasonable things you'd like to request as conditions for your acceptance of this job, my superiors have indicated that they're willing to negotiate in order to secure your assistance in this matter. I'll be staying here until I get a response from you, one way or the other, so I'll leave my card so you can contact me."

He laid a card on top of the pile of folders and stepped across to hand one to Captain Shapiro. The captain unbent so much as to accept it from him, then leaned back against the wall.

William clasped his hands together as he looked at the assembled group once more, but everyone remained silent and Lex could see from a quick glance up and down the row that most of her teammates seemed lost in their own thoughts. "Well, thank you for your time, and can I say that it's been a real privilege to meet all of you in person. A lot of people only talk about trying to make the world a better place, but all of you seem like you've been actually working to do it."

Gathering up his briefcase, William waited until the captain levered himself to a standing position and then followed the older man out of the room. Lex sighed as she heard their footsteps disappearing down the hallway, then shook her head as she caught Rolf's eye.

"Bunch of bullshit," growled Kate, leaning back in her chair, but her tone sounded more relaxed than when the young man had been in the room.

"He didn't seem that bad," Derek began, but shrugged as she gave him a dark look. "Well, I can't say I have a good feeling about the offer, though."

Victor nodded in agreement with Derek's comment and Lex turned as she heard Lou's voice chime in with a comment. "I do miss home sometimes, but that isn't going to make me want to go back."

Casey had a disapproving look on her face as she looked at the stack of paperwork on the table at the front of the room. "Me neither."

Riss hadn't taken her attention from her computers for most of Williams' talk, but now she lifted her head. "I've been trying to find out more about who's behind this, but it seems they know about me and as a result, they've been able to cover their tracks to a large degree."

Lex gave her friend a curious look. "Any interest in going back, or just curious about this?"

"Not at all interested, but I figure it's possible that whoever began pursuing this will continue. I'd like to find out who we're up against before we're pushed into a corner."

"Good idea," Lex replied with a nod, watching Riss go back to typing on her laptop. She turned to Lily next and found the doctor sitting as she had been, just looking forward, her expression almost blank. When Lex called to Lily, she started as if she'd been daydreaming.

"Oh," Lily said, blinking and then smiling in a way that seemed unconvincing. "I was just thinking that I'd been hoping that after the first attempt that they'd forget about it, but it seems like they haven't."

Waiting just proved fruitless, although Lex had hoped the doctor had more to add. "You're right about that." As Kate rose to go a moment later, Lex continued. "Wait, what should we do about the folders he left?"

Kate glared at the stack on the table at the front of the room. "Pitch them into the garbage can for all I care."

Victor shrugged and frowned, but Derek said, "William said there were people who needed help, who'd been hurt. Maybe we should at least look at the files."

Turning to glare at him now, Kate got derailed by the sound of Lou's voice. "Lex, could you please look at them and we can talk about them in the next couple of meetings at home, when we've all had some time to calm down?"

He finished his statement with a glance around the room, and then a pointed look at Lex. Lex turned slightly to meet Rolf's eyes. "As long as you don't object," she said to him in a soft voice.

Rolf shook his head. "I don't mind. I'll even help you."

Lex nodded as she gave him a grin. "All right," she said to the room at large asshe went to the front to gather up the abandoned file folders. "I'll have a look and let you know what Ithink."

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