John Jones paced up and down the Mission Briefings room, hands clasped behind his back. James, Boris, Kevin and Lauren sat in front of him. "This is serious," he announced, still pacing. "Very serious. Breach of perimiter wall, kidnapping of junior agent..."
John came to a halt in the middle of the room and he mopped his brow with a small brown hankerchief. Kevin stared past the balding Mission Controller, eyeballing the opposite wall with a glassy stare. James and Lauren exchanged worried looks, and Boris simply shook his head in disbelief.
"I can't believe it," he said. "How anyone could possibly..." Boris trailed off, speculating.
"Exactly our problem," John said. "It should be impossible. We're hidden in the middle of the English countryside, for Gods sake. Aircraft must fly at ten thousand fleet above us, no helicopter acess. I don't understand!"
Silence swelled in the little room as the four agents sat arkwardly before their traumatized Mission Controller, who coughed and started up again.
"We need help to recover Megan. Thanks to you, Lauren," he inclined his head, "We now know why Megan was hiding outside in the cold and the dark. The question is where she has gone, and I think you could help us..."
He stopped, because at that moment, the chairman, or chair person as she preffered to be called, of CHERUB, Zara Asker. Her face was like thunder. "John," she said. "I can't believe you are about to brief these agents for a mission that hasn't even been approved, or planned, or even thought about yet!"
John held up his hands in defence. "Zara, Zara, please. These two are the best," he said, motioning to James and Lauren.
Zara raised her eyebrows. "I know that, John. But that doesn't explain the presence of Mr Norris here," she said, eyeballing Bruce, who stood up and left rapidly.
She then turned her attention to Kevin. "You may also leave, Kevin," she said, and Kevin too got up without a word and left the room.
James and Lauren exchanged worried looks as Zara put her hands on her hips and looked stern. "I am not going to authorise any sort of mission to find Megan until MI5 have done their part."
"You've brought in MI5?" James excalimed. "Why?!"
Again, Zara raised her eyebrows. "Do you have a problem with that, James?"
James said nothing, but raised his chin arrogantly. Zara cleared her throat. "They will begin an investigation as to what caused this, why and who. CHERUB needn't get involved in something that may be over even your highly trained heads.
Lauren felt like she was being patronized, treated like a child. It definatley wasn't what she expected from Zara Asker, who was normally one of her favourite members of staff on campus.
"What happens if MI5 don't bring up anything?" Lauren asked.
"Then we get involved. It will be an extremley High Risk mission, if it comes through. It will involve a number of the best agents, I think, and a large dose of danger."