Headquarters of the Inter-Universal Guidance Agency (IUGA):
Senior Guidance Agent Constantine Albrecht Ralston was pissed—not in the British sense of ‘totally wasted,’ but in the American sense of ‘mad as hell.’ He’d never even spoken the word before, but he believed it described his mood precisely this morning as he stood in the office of IUGA’s new director, Braxton Zarbain.
“Agent Ralston, thank you for coming so promptly,” Director Zarbain said, motioning him to take a seat in front of the director’s chrome and glass desk. The desktop bore a single item—a crystal plaque with the motto: Destiny is Our Duty.
“I apologize for this unexpected disruption of your field work.” Zarbain said, plucking an imagined bit of lint from his sleeve. “I am aware you are fostering a high-value subject, and that one of his crucial events occurs tonight, but we have received information that requires your efforts be redirected immediately.”
Ralston opened his mouth to protest, but the director held up a hand. “A Transcender will arrive in your sector today, the appearance of whom will have a direct impact upon your subject’s crucial event and threaten to unravel all the important work you have accomplished to date. I was certain you would wish to be the agent in charge of containing the damage.”
“But this is outrageous,” Ralston spluttered. “A Transcender interfering with a crucial event? I am not aware of a Transcender applying to my sector.”
“As you know, they are not technically required to apply. It is more of a courtesy. Regardless, I am speaking of a first-timer. A young woman—a child really—seventeen years of age. She does not even know what is about to happen to her. She is coming from Earth 7Y12. Resides in the state of Connecticut, I believe. It is critical for you to initiate contact with her, monitor her every move, and return her home at the first possible opportunity. All of this must occur without her discovering she is a Transcender.”
Ralston removed his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose, his anger now overshadowed by a sense of duty. “Yes sir, I see. An American teenager. She’ll be disoriented and frightened. But why is she not to know that she’s a Transcender?”
“Outside of the obvious undesirability of allowing the Transcenders to add to their ranks, a more important consideration exists. She has a prior connection with your primary subject and she must not become aware that there is a choice about her leaving.”
Agent Ralston narrowed his eyes. “By a prior connection, you mean…”
“There is a pre-existing Perpetual Contract between the two. Nevertheless, eternal love cannot and shall not be permitted to interfere with the galactic order. Destiny must prevail.”
“But sir, don’t we have an absolute obligation to honor such a contract? In all my years at the agency I’ve never heard of a Perpetual Contract being ignored.”
Director Zarbain waved this off. “The parties could not possibly have foreseen the present situation. The legal department assures me that under such circumstances, we are free to disregard it.”
Ralston replaced his glasses, frowning internally. This does not comport with my understanding of the law at all, and I see another, larger problem as well.
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Genre - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal/YA
Rating – PG13
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