Fancy delivery

3 1 1

At ten the President of the W Concern came to visit the shifter department. Jeanne didn't normally wear heels but when she did she wore the kind that looked vaguely threatening. Today they were black leather boots with laces down the back and silver tipped heels. She wore a necklace that looked like dozens of little silver daggers. Her demeanour though was friendly, disarming.
    "What are you all doing here?" She asked cheerily.  "Isn't it a blood moon?"
    "It is," Dani said. "Something's wrong. Nothing is happening."
    Jeanne moved to sit next to her. Dani was seated at one of the desks staring blankly at her lap top. The feeds were the same. Still nothing.
    "Isn't that a good thing?" Jeanne asked softly.
    "It should be, shouldn't it?"
    "Maybe it means we're doing something right?" Her tone was hopeful and Dani wished she could feel the same.
    "No.. we know there are still werewolves out there. We haven't eliminated all of them yet. This means something else."
    "Maybe they left?"
    Dani had considered this. She had talked with her team about this over for an hour. Perhaps the Geminis had gotten sick of being hunted and left for a smaller town that didn't have a task force. That was good news for Toronto but bad news for that town. And if it were plausible Dani would have felt guilty about it. The thing is - it didn't fit. Austin was an ego maniac. An alpha who thought that talking shit, claiming he was invincible and never backing down were commendable traits. He would never leave Toronto of his own volition if only because he would associate leaving with weakness.
    "I don't think so," Dani said. "Leah, Nayin, Sarah and Robin are in the field, trying to get a read. We're waiting to hear back. Might give us a better sense of what's up."
    Jeanne nodded. She was scanning the room and Dani knew what she was thinking. That there were an awful lot of agents just sitting around. "Since it's quiet here," Jeanne said.
    "The vampires?" Dani completed her thought. She met Nick's eyes and he ambled over, already sighing loudly.
    "I'll go," He said, "I'll take Carmen. It'll be easy. In and out."
    "I'm sorry," Dani said.
    "I mean, no you're not. I bet you think this is kind of funny."
    Dani smiled broadly. "Obviously it's funny. You hate web3, crypto. And vampires. This is like a once in a life time assignment."
    "Great," Jeanne got up clapping her hands. "Alessandra will brief you. Roger's running point."
    "Who's Roger?" Nick asked.
    "New guy, fresh from New York, lots of experience out there. You'll like him."
    Dani met Nick's face. His expression stayed carefully neutral but Dani had a feeling that Nick would not like this Roger. The last time they had had a big gun with lots of experience from New York it had been a total disaster. He had turned out to be lazy and barely competent. A well connected boaster with the kind of credentials that had made people look the other way. She wanted to tell Nick that this guy was probably better than the last guy but it was funnier to not say anything at all and just know that he was probably fuming about it.
    "When will he be back?" She asked Jeanne once Carmen and Nick had left.
    "Roger said it'll be an hour, maybe two. Expect him back by 1."
    "They're just rounding them up, bringing them back in?"
    "Or killing them and leaving them there. Whichever," Jeanne said.
    Dani excused herself. Keely was waving her over. She had pulled her headphones - a white pair of noise cancelling headphones that had fuzzy purple cat ears that matched her hair - down and she looked excited.
    "What's up?" Dani asked as she settled in.
    There was a picture on Keely's screen that looked a bit like a paparazzi shot. A young woman, about twenty, very thin, with long wavy white hair, dressed stylishly in expensive clothes, caught in mid stride, looking half way over her shoulder, a pair over oversized sunglasses sliding down her nose. She was pretty in an overly groomed kind of popstar way, every wave in her hair perfectly smooth, skin bright, clothes pressed.
    There was something off with her eyes but it was hard to tell if it was just a bad photo with weird lighting or if her eyes were an unusual colour. Bright purple?
    "K-pop star?" Dani asked.
    "No, but she kind of looks like one. No, she's the Oracle."
    Dani searched her memory. She vaguely remembered hearing the name before mostly in a context that suggested she was some kind of fake. Someone who pretended she could see the future and charged a lot of money for it. "Right," Dani said, not very impressed.
    "Oh my goodness, you don't know who she is." Keely said clearly getting excited. "Okay so there are a lot of rumours about her. None of which are true. The rumours are something like she's into astrology and charges all these rich people to tell fortunes right? WRONG. She's the real deal. She can see the future, but it's more like she can see all the different possible futures. The most likely ones anyway and they change as you get closer to them as the possibilities narrow."
    Dani nodded. The rest of the team tended to be really into stuff like that but she mostly ignored it. Ten years ago when she had seen her first shifter she had come to accept that magic was real but that didn't mean that all magic was as real as other magic. Seeing into the future was still one of the things she thought was bullshit.
    "Okay fine you don't care about her but you should care about... her," Keely zoomed out of the photo and another figure came into view. A small, pretty dark haired woman wearing a pair of black cargo pants and a black tank top. She looked like she spent a lot of time in the gym and there was a confidence to her posture that came across even in the still frame but otherwise Dani couldn't place why she should care about her.
    "That," Keely said as she jabbed her screen with excitement, "Is Nicole."
    "Oh," Maria and Tom both said at the same time. They were a few seats away. Tom had been showing her how to use a deck of cards that turned into poison darts but they dropped them in favour of slipping over and standing behind Keely.
    "You know who she is?" Dani asked them. She was starting to get the feeling this was someone she should know but she had always done a terrible job of keeping up with shifters outside of their immediate territory. She liked to tell herself that was why she had a team, so she didn't have to keep up with all the details, but there were some details, like knowing who the other big shifter leaders were, that were probably well within the range of what she should still keep an eye on.
    "Yeah she leads what is it called again..." Tom trailed off then brightened with a mischievous smile. "The Spanish Mafia."
    Dani narrowed her eyes at him. "There's no such thing as the Spanish Mafia. It'd be like .. a cartel. Like Spanish organized crime.. they use the term cartel."
    "Exactly. I think that's the point. Inside joke." Tom said.
    "Or not," Maria said dryly, "They might just not realize that."
    "Whatever, guys look that doesn't matter," Keely jabbed her screen again. "Look at the background."
    Dani squinted. It was a little fuzzy but she was pretty sure she recognized it. It was a brown brick building, large. Her mind was just starting to place it in a larger landscape when Keely zoomed out all the way and she read the words on the facade. "The St. Lawrence market," Dani said. She let that sink in. It was a place she had visited a hundred times before, a place full of fancy cheeses, artesenal  jams, delicious fruit and smoked meat.  It was also only a few minutes from the office.  "They're in Toronto."
    "This was just posted. Looks like it was taken yesterday," Keely said. "One of the spotters grabbed it from that weird fan group that's obsessed with werewolf news.Thinks they're celebrities. Like boy bands."
    "Well, that's no good," Tom said. He turned to Dani, explaining for her benefit. "You know how we are always saying that if the Geminis were more organized they would be more of a problem? Well now imagine a group that's insanely well organized and also ruthless as fuck. Just the most ruthless. That's the Spanish Mafia. They're from New Orleans."
    That did ring a bell. The worst kind. About a year ago New Orleans had been the site of a massacare. The entire paranormal team out there had been killed on the same night as the previous pack had been systematically eliminated, their bodies, back in human form,  all found the next morning piled in a neighborhood park, heads bitten or ripped off. The heads had been found months later, buried a few hours outside of town in a box wrapped in pink wrapping paper and tied with a bow.
    Dani swallowed, her mouth drying in a heartbeat.
    She was just about to get up, to tell everyone to grab their weapons, to sound the alarm when someone rapped loudly on the door to their war room, each knock distinct and sharp, like gun fire. The door was being held open with a door jam and the knock had been done just to get their attention, to make them look.
    Standing there was a small woman with dark hair wearing a hoodie and jeans, the hoodie unzipped, her hair tied back. In one hand she was holding a box wrapped with shiny blue wrapping paper and tied with a yellow satin bow. She was smiling wickedly, like the world was her fucking oyster and she was having the time of her life.
    "Hi," She said, her gaze drifting to the computer screen that still had an image of Nicole and the Oracle up. "I can see you're big fans."

The W ConcernWhere stories live. Discover now