Once things had finally wound down, which basically meant once Kelly had stopped laughing again, she and Isaac had introduced themselves for real and explained how the shadow system worked.
“Basically, you’re called shadows because you’re going to spend the next four months following us around. We’ll keep you out of stuff as much as we can for the first little bit. Your job is just to watch and learn. Once we think you’ve got the basic idea of what being a Stationary operative is all about, you’ll be able to act on your own a bit more.
“Part of the problem is that the way things work varies a lot from city to city, so you’ll have to go through some form of this wherever you end up stationed as well. That’s if you stay as a stationary, of course. Intervention operatives do things totally different from us and you’ll have a period with one of their teams too before you get your first real assignment.”
The other girl, Bettie Boom, seemed like a little ball of energy. She kept fidgeting, shifting her weight from one foot to the other. Kelly had made enough changes to her eyes by now that she could sort of see through the polarizing effect on the Citadel’s standard face plates. She wasn’t sure if it was the improved low light vision or the slightly widened visible spectrum but, either way, people’s faces were a kind of blurry mass rather than completely concealed for her. The other girl was practically beaming with happiness.
The guy, Jordan Strong, was older than her but younger than Isaac. Twenty nine, if she remembered his file right. He was a lot more reserved, just standing there with his feet shoulder width apart and his hands clasped behind his back. Kelly could see his face too but if he had any particular expression then it was too blurry for her to make out.
“We’ll be working in pairs for most things. Operative Jordan, you’re with me. Bettie, you’ll be with Isaac. Powers wise it might be better to do things the other way around but we decided, given your past interaction, that you’d make a better fit with him. Any questions?”
Jordan gave a small nod then waited for her to acknowledge it before speaking. “What’s the plan for the rest of tonight? Do we remain on… Titan Watch, I think you called it… or is it on to something else?”
Kelly had to restrain herself from actually remodeling her face to grin wider. For some reason, she was really looking forward to this whole mentor thing. “Standard rule for Watch is two operatives at all times, just in case. That goes down to one for the first eight hours. The quickest cycle on record is sixteen hours.” He cocked his head so, before he could ask, she added “Just in case.” That seemed to satisfy him.
“We’ll be leaving Isaac and Bettie here to fulfill that while you and I have a patrol to get to. Any other questions are going to have to wait a bit. There’s a boat to catch.” She turned back to wave at Isaac and the new girl just before starting down the path to the little pier below. “Good luck guys! Don’t break any records tonight.” Jordan followed along quietly.
As soon as she set foot on the little boat she immediately thickened the walls of the little sacs in her ears. It’d do bad things to her balance but it’d also keep the boat’s bouncing motion from affecting her too badly. She really hated seasickness. Increasing the concentration of gecko style setae, lots and lots of super tiny suckers that let the lizards cling to walls, on her ‘boots’ and hands should keep her from toppling over. Too late to impress the new guy with her sober professionalism but there was no need to make it worse.
The trip was quiet. Not the tense, nerve racking silence that had surrounded the pair on their way out here. She’d watched that through the Support guys’ body cams and it’d been hilarious. Isaac had argued that the whole Titan Watch initiation thing was a little mean but Kelly had argued for keeping with tradition. After all, Lightshow and Twitch had done it to them.
No, this was a more comfortable thing. The Support guy, she thought his name was Jordan Faas-Bush but it felt a bit too coincidental, was too busy paying attention to the water to chat. Her Jordan just… just gave off a sort of air, like he wasn’t talking because he didn’t have anything in particular to say. It was… comfortable. Kind of familiar too, Jason had been the same way back in Basic. From what his file had said, Jordan wasn’t anywhere near as dangerous as Jason but Kelly still thought she’d be fine with having him at her back.
They landed and got off at Pier thirty three. Jordan walked by her side as she led them along the Embarcadero towards the Wharf. It was late enough that the area wasn’t too crowded but this was a prime tourist area. It was never completely empty.
“Is your com active?” she asked him, careful to keep her voice calm. It’d kinda defeat the purpose if she made this look like a big deal.
“Good. Just keep walking like we’re not doing anything in particular. Turn your audio gain all the way up and make sure you keep your voice as low as you can. That should be enough to let us have a relatively private conversation.”
Rather than answer, he looked around at the little clusters of people on the street.
“Better here than back at the base. We’ve got at least twenty operatives in the city right now and I don’t even know how many Support personnel. Do you have any idea how many of them have some kind of enhanced hearing? Cause I don’t. Trust me, you don’t want this sort of thing getting around.”