Dr. Morsham, a short slender woman with graying hair, had called for the meeting as soon as they were all cleared from medical. She stepped to the fore of the room, looking each of the occupants in the face. Her eyes showed concern. Concern and curiosity as she pondered where they had been. They lingered the longest on the newcomer, the so called Fox. She stepped up to the front of the table. "First, I'd like to say how glad I am to have you all back in one piece. More or less." Morsham gave one of her rare smiles, the affection for her charges very genuine. "I'd like to say you've earned some down time, but I'm afraid I can't. First, however. I'd like to hear just what happened?"
Fox leaned back in her chair some and looked over to the group, "Well I don't know how it started for them…" she said smirking some, "But I was in NY in an alley and then all of a sudden, I wasn't… I ended up in a God Forsaken Jungle with all this weird shit and I found them after a few fucking days of Hell and we went and found this odd Bitch and we ended up here… I'm just tryin' to find my way home Doc" she crossed her arms and smiled to the lady.
"The short version," Photon drawled, "is that we got our butts kicked, and are here only because Kimagure didn't consider us a threat. The longer-but-not-long version is that after we left the hospital, we picked up Black Scarab and then went to Kimagure's building in the Sprawl, where Stonewall was waiting. We found a pattern on the floor that proved to be a sort of template–evidently aimed at the capabilities of myself and Blink. We wound up in a swamp–just so you know where all those bacterial and fungal infections came from." She shuddered. "Nasty place. Anyway, we managed to track Kimagure to her lair there."
"I've already filed my recommendation and report with Metro, but it can be summed up as–don't even think about it, because she's got near-total control of the environment there."
"Not only that," Blink said, "I'm not sure anyone could just get there if they wanted to. Kimagure used some funky tech to do it. Of course, our reports and Holly's visual should verify what can and can't be done." She looked around for April.
Stonewall nodded. "Yeah… We didn't seem to do all too well… But then again, if she stays there maybe we don't have to worry about her.
"It's just where 'there' is that has us baffled. Holly lost contact with all of you. Completely. Not even a homing beacon. While its possible, there are very few locales where she'd have trouble finding barring active jamming," Morsham said. "Aside from that… there's some… unusual findings in your clothing on your person when you returned. I'll let April elaborate when she arrives."
Fox leaned back some, "This is all interesting… how the hell can I get home?"
"If Holly has finished with a records check on you–sorry, not my idea, it's standard procedure–then we can arrange to have you transported back to the mainland on the next routine flight," Photon replied.
Morsham grew more serious. "Young lady, you just might be home… if you wish it."
"Yeah, stick around Fox." Stonewall grinned.
Fox smirked some, "Yeah… sure… I can play Army Commando or Sally Superhero or something."
"Recruiting again, doc? Heaven knows, if nothing else, we could use the manpower," Photon said.
"Holly's record search turned up a rather… extensive criminal background on Fox." Morsham said carefully. "But given its nature, its makes her an excellent candidate for the project. If she wants to join."
"Sure, Foxy. What the hell? I mean, where can you have the kind of adventures we had and all these perks too?" Blink smiled at her. "If you're into crazy shit, that is."
Fox crossed her arms some, "Project? I think we'd best slow down and start from the fucking beginning… I need to know exactly what the fuck is going on and what my options are…"
"This," the doctor gestured to indicate the general surrounding, "is the Purgatory Project. Think of it as advanced community service. An option for certain metahuman criminals essentially. You work for us, performing missions that benefit the various Project member governments. In return, your sentence is reduced per mission."
Stonewall grinned. "Speaking of, I better get a good decade off for this last one… I hope your guys got rid of everything that was trying to set up shop on me."
"Of course, if you aren't sentenced, it doesn't matter… but hey, it's a bargain at twice the price." Blink chuckled. "Hey doc, where's April?"
"She should be here shortly. She had some last minute things she wanted to handle before the meeting," Morsham said.
"In case you're wondering where I come into all of this," Photon added, "I'm not actually part of the project, even though I accompany the project members on their missions. I'm more or less the watchdog for the team members."
Fox looked to Photon, "Oh… so your the snitch… Well, it seems that my decision is made…" She nodded a little. "I will join," Fox said.
Stonewall shook her head. "Nah, Photon's cool. She's right out there with us every time."
Photon shrugged. "If you choose to view me that way. The people who set this up had to have someone they trusted to go along with these guys, and I got picked. They certainly weren't going to let them go running off without supervision."
Fox just shrugged. "Yeah… I guess so… if Stonie okays you…"
"Anyway," Photon said, turning back to Morsham, "I believe you said we couldn't be spared any downtime right now. What's up with that?"
"We're hoping to receive word from Ivy about contacting the inhabitants of the other Quarter soon. Given the close encounters, it seems to be the only recourse," Morsham said.
Photon nodded. "We can't go looking for them, but now that they've made contact first, we have to do something."
"Agreed." April said, walking into the room. She nodded to those she knew. Fox recognized her. She was the red haired doctor that had treated her. For Blink, there was more than just a nod, she walked over and hugged the woman firmly.
"Nice to see you too," Blink said. "I missed you. So, what's next on the agenda?"
"High colonic enemas for the lot of you," April said dryly.
Fox smiled at the doctor, "Hi Doc?"
April smiled at her. "Feeling all right?"
"Well it's a little odd been buzzed there, but I'm not feeling bad or nothin'," Fox said.
Stonewall nodded. "Doc." She looked to Photon. "What about askin' Warp's girlfriend?"
"Not a bad idea, actually," Photon replied. "Certainly, she'll have a better idea than we will about what's going on, at least until we hear back from Ivy." She turned slightly to look at her brother. "If you don't think she'll spook, would you ask Sheba to join us?"
Warp nodded. "I'll go get her, try to calm her down before we get here… Be back soon." He got up and hurried to his quarters. He returned shortly, leading the shy feline woman behind him.
Stonewall looked over the arrival, not sure what to make of the cat. She hadn't been here the first time they'd met her.
Fox looked the woman over. Very exotic… She stayed silent though they mentioned calming her down and she didn't wanna scare her or anything.
Sheba stayed in Warp's shadow, feeling the center of attention and not liking it one little bit.
Warp slid an arm around her, gently stroking her back. "It's okay, Sheba…" He led her to one of the seats, standing next to her.
The silence was getting irritating. "So are we all contemplating our navels or are we fucking doing something?" Fox asked.
The cat woman shrank away from Fox's harsh voice, slipping behind Warp.
"I'm sorry to drag you in here, Sheba–I know you don't like being around this many people." Photon paused. "But we need some help, and you're about the only one who might be able to provide it."
"What you want for Sheba do?" she asked, purring over Warp's shoulder.
Warp smiled, taking her hand in his, gently squeezing. Sheba purred softly, pressing close to him.
Stonewall looked over the arrival. That's one sweet pussy…
Fox just sighed some looking for a seat to make herself comfortable.
Circe cocked her head, looking coolly at the pair together. "Tell us why you are here, why you came to the 'Gods'?"
Sheba sighed, glancing up at Warp as if asking permission to speak. "Sheba come because not want to be mated… wanting to choose… so run away."
Stonewall nodded. "Makes sense to me."
"…which just goes to show that whether you're dealing with humans or anthropomorphic felines, some things don't change," Photon sighed. "Okay, then. So presumably, they're here after Sheba. As for what to do about them, I'd simply say that we should keep going on as we are now–observe, and stop them if they cause damage, but otherwise take no action." This would be much easier without Ivy's noninterference edict to deal with…
"Gods? Where is the Gods?" Fox interrupted.
"Us." Circe said. "More so, it is what they believe this place holds and have a taboo against coming here. Probably in place since they were created."
Sheba asked quietly, "Who is coming?"
"Your former mate. A large feline male, with a mane." Circe watcher Sheba intently.
"Leo… he come?" The feline looked angry, voice dropping to a hiss. "He always come… never stop!"
Warp nodded. "We won't let him take you Sheba."
Fox looked over. "We'll just have to show him a girl can do what she wants, then," Fox said putting a hand on her hip.
"So in other words, we can rely on him to force the issue," Photon concluded. "Wonderful."
"Not too surprising. It does seem to be a fairly primitive social structure. Strength, power would be dominant. Thus usually falling to the males," Circe said. "Taken with the fact her departure was likely pretty public, it's cost him standing."
Stonewall snorted. "He tries anything, and we'll spay him."
"Well if he shows up here, he'll be limpin' home" Fox said.
"Which means that sooner or later, this 'Leo' will force the issue–if only to save face." Photon paused. "God, I love my job. My suggestion stands–we let them come to us. If they break in here, we've got the advantage. But if anyone else has a suggestion, I'm open…"
"Perhaps we can frighten them off." Circe said. "This is the abode of the Gods."
"I'm not particularly fond of taking advantage of their beliefs like that, but we may not have a choice. How can we frighten them off?" Photon glanced at Sheba.
Stonewall nodded. "Yeah, I mean, I can juggle tanks, you can shoot light… Gotta be frightening if they've never seen it… And yeah, we let them come to our turf…"
"Not I," Fox said.
Stonewall shrugged. "I don't like the idea either. But if it's scare them or kill them…"