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"Now," Jake announced as he pressed his paw to a lever. "Brace yourself."
The doors opened, and the tunnel flooded with light, causing the other two to blink, until they could see the clearly again. And what they saw took their breath away.
It was if the world had been condensed into one huge room; filled with all sorts of environments. The water in the tunnel led out into some sort of lake; where it veered off towards a clump of trees, getting marshier in the process. In another section, the floor was covered in sand, and on the other side, there was a dark cavern; lake water flowing into its gaping mouth. There were other doors as well, and through them they could see glimpses of colourful plants and white-tipped boulders. Howls and chittering noises rang out, and butterflies and birds of all size and description decorated the ceiling as they flocked to and fro.
"What is this place?" Gasped the otter.
"FBI, AD section."
The dolphin cautiously swam out into the light. "AD? What's that stand for?"
"Animal Division." Jake nodded to himself, and then led the way inside. "Welcome to your new home."
They didn't get much time to look around before Jake had guided them into a much plainer, smaller room; an office. As plain as it was, it was still equipped with perches and ceiling nets and chairs of all heights; even a water-filled trench that connected to the other rooms that allowed the dolphin to come along.
"I brought 'em." Called Jake as he entered. He scampered over to a high chair that seemed to have ladder bars sticking out of its single leg, and climbed up.
"She's gone," Said a voice. "Said she's dealing with paperwork."
Turning their heads to the sound, the three spotted another creature sitting in a chair. It was a human. He looked young, probably in his early twenties at most, with blonde hair and a slim figure. He gave them a smile.
"I got called here too." He explained. "Arrived a little early."
"Paperwork?" Asked Jake.
"That's what she told me."
The ferret rolled his eyes. "Always with the paperwork, these fellas. I think they just like keeping us waiting for the effect."
The human chuckled. Maybe. Name's Hannel. Brian Hannel. You guys must be the AD agents they called in."
"And what about you?" Asked the dolphin.
"FBI agent." He shrugged. "Sort of young for it, I know, but they wanted people who didn't show up on the political radar for this mission."
"Mission?" Echoed the otter. "Does that mean-"
"I see you've all arrived."
Through a previously unseen door came a dark-haired, bespectacled woman who looked in her mid-thirties. She gazed back at them, unfazed.
"Yeah, we have." Muttered Jake. "A little quicker than you did, lady."
"Now, Jake, save it for another time." She seated herself behind the desk. "This is important. Make yourselves comfortable." When they all had, she began. "My name is Agent Brei. I'll be your instructor for the next couple of days. You have been chosen to take part in a top secret faction of the FBI..."
"You three were currently in the thrall of creatures called Universum Infrenus, or, as they're nicknamed, Mary Sues. They are reality warpers, who somehow break into worlds and change them to their desires."
"You mean like aliens?"
"In a way, yes. But they aren't from another planet. More of... outside our universe. They manipulate the possibility of other dimensions in ways that I won't attempt to explain as you would have to spend ten years studying physics before you could grasp it. Sometimes they even create mini-worlds to inhabit, called bubbles. Their power to create, to build, to change form... it astounded our scientists when we discovered them."
"So why would that be a problem?"
"I'm getting to that, Agent Hannel. These creatures don't create these fantasies from nothing. They must steal foundations to work with. It's likely you all were normal creatures once, before you were manipulated by your Sues. And with every world and bubble, they unbalance this universe and come closer to fully breaking in and being purposefully able to rearrange things instead of just stealing people and materials. And here is where the good stuff is. And that's why we hunt them. To keep them out."
"So... what? Is that all you're gonna say? That we were livin' in a bubble made by some alien?"
"No, of course not. A while ago, a universe popped up that was... different somehow. We sent two agents in to check it out and take out the Sue. Agent Hannel here only just made it out. Any others we sent in were slaughtered, as the creatures inhabiting it easily scented out an out-worlder when they wanted to.
"And that's why we started this project. You are as intelligent as any human being due to your exposure to these creatures, which also makes you hard to identify as a threat. Brute force is no longer an option, nor is taking our time. We need to kill this thing and kill it fast. And that's where you four come in. You are being recruited to kill this Mary Sue."
The conversation played as clearly in her head as if it had been only yesterday, though it had in fact been a month ago. Brei had mentioned that they would have trained longer if they'd had the time, but the mission couldn't be put off any longer. She had been Squeaker then, on that day she walked in. She wasn't anymore. The FBIAD had given her and the dolphin new names, ones which naturally surpassed Squeaker and Rainbow Jewell.
Now Gwethelyn fiddled with her radio and tried to get to sleep. In her month's training, she'd been placed in a class containing a huge variety of animals, but hadn't contained Jake or the dolphin, Adlef, and she'd barely seen them or Hannel since.
"What made you do it?" Was the question agents-in-training asked each other. Gwethelyn had wondered that for a while. Maybe because it was the only plausible option- the bubble had been destroyed the moment the Sue was, which left either this or being turned out into the wild, where her intelligence would set her apart from the rest of her kind. Maybe it was for revenge, because, silly as it may, the feeling of being so smart, so aware, only to sing a stupid song stolen from this world. It definitely wasn't gratitude- that sign and that box had been left out for any animals to see it, not for her alone. Had she never noticed it, she would have been blown to smithereens while some luckier creature may have got away.
It had only been tonight, soothe night before the mission, that she started to understand why she had become an agent- no, an assassin. It was the feeling she got when learning about the Sues. A creature who acted as intelligent and appeared like a human, yet was nothing like it; merely attempting to resemble the creatures it planned to kill one day. Wasn't she, in a way, like that?
Killing thing aside, of course.
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