Micah walked into the main DDEA —Drug and Demon Enforcement Agency—in the country. The building was grey and imposing from the outside, and the inside was straight up Roman column bureaucratic. He had been ordered to fly to DC for his next assignment, not five minutes after he’d arrived home from his disastrous meeting with Mitch. He’d caught a car to the airport, and while he fell asleep promptly on the plane, his exhaustion still hovered at the edges. Adrenalin was quickly crowding out any traces of tiredness, as his tension levels escalated the further he got into the building.
The Security Agents stationed just inside the doors perused his identification and waved him through, their smirks making it obvious his name was already a juicy bone on the gossip circuit.
“Special Agent, you’re expected on the fifth floor. Take the elevators down the hall to the right, and once you get there, the receptionist will direct you where you need to go.”
Micah nodded, ignoring the muffled laughter as he turned, and headed to the elevators. He also tried to ignore the sudden urge to scream. At this point, stressing about his assignment wouldn’t really help, he just needed to find out what it was. Then he could stress. The receptionist directed him to a large office fronted by glass with privacy film coating the middle. He hesitated, then knocked on the door and entered.
“Well, well, well, Special Agent Barnham. I must say, rumors of your fuckup have gone viral around here.” The woman sitting at the desk eyed him with an amused expression, as she watched him enter the office. She was in her forties if he had to guess, and would not have looked out of place in a superhero movie or a boardroom. She had an expensively tailored suit and sleek short dark hair. While it met department regulations, it also looked like she had an excellent stylist on hand.
“Director Parks, since I did the only thing I could do, I’m not sure I would call it…” he cut off his response when she laughed.
“If that’s the story you want to go with, that’s fine. By all reports your actions were justified and perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. However, since you happened to go to school at one time with the Senator’s son, I doubt you can pull out the ignorance defense. So I gotta wonder, just how eager were you to arrest that son of a bitch?”
Micah gaped at her, reluctantly impressed at the amount of digging someone had done in a very short time. “Um, Director, I…”
“Not that it matters, Special Agent. There are quite a few people that are currently seeking your head on a platter. Personally, I refuse to give it to them. As you say, it was a valid arrest. And letting the politicians win on this one isn’t a point I’m willing to concede. However, you have painted a great big target on your back and I can’t keep you safe on a normal assignment. So… at the moment I only have one option.”
“Director?” Micah asked, hating that he must sound like an idiot.
“I’m sending you over to Demon Central. They’re having a lot of trouble with unauthorized trafficking of designer drugs in the outer regions of Hell, and I need to send them a resource that has a good idea of how to operate in that sphere. While the Gate Guardians are very picky about who they allow to enter Hell, apparently the fact that you’re a Shadow Walker was a huge selling point.”
Micah froze, unable to process what he had heard. The Director knew he was a Shadow Walker? They were sending him to the HellsGate Office?
“Special Agent, I suggest you report in on the thirteenth floor for your briefing. They can give you a run-down of what you’ll expect. They will also have some equipment for you to add to your arsenal. You’re going to need it. Good luck!” the Director told him cheerfully, then turned back to the papers on her desk, dismissing him without a chance to respond.