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Identification number: 010433

Name: Esteban Guerrero Flores

Alias: Straightshooter

Category: 1

Affiliation: Flag Five (Former)

Status: Deceased

 

Identification number: 311576

Name: [REDACTED]

Category: 1

Affiliation: Perseus Squadron

Status: Wanted

 

Swallowing his pride and shuffling the papers, Ty Rathbone pens (Former) to the right of the fourth line with a heavy heart.

He is so used to filling out paperwork on the Squadron’s behalf, exhaustedly trying to justify the trail of bodies left behind them. It hurts to know he is doing it for the last time, and his breath catches in his throat.

He thinks of the last time he’d seen them, sitting at the counter in the lounge. Harley is stuffing their face with croissants at a worrying pace, and Amara is taking advantage of their obliviousness to pickpocket them blind. Hermes is face down and fast asleep, and Maria, with a hand on Esteban’s shoulder, is trying to hide her laughter.

And Esteban…

A small smile plays across his face as he watches the scene, and Rathbone is so proud of him.

His breath hitches again, more dangerously this time, and he swallows heavily.

Just come back, he wants to find Esteban and plead, just come home. Rathbone is still holding out hope that, any moment now, he'll look up and Esteban will walk through the door.

AEGIS doesn’t trust the boy as far as they can throw him, they write him off as the guilty party in minutes. Rathbone sits in meeting after meeting, and he is berated for giving a category the reins to an elite team.

Hobbes says, “guilty men run,” with a wave of his hand, as if that's that, but he doesn’t know Esteban the way Rathbone does. Esteban may be quiet and barred and intimidating, but he is a pack animal to his core, he holds his family close to his chest, and he would never turn on them.

And you didn’t know him, you didn’t know any of them, he wants to hiss at Hobbes, you never cared about them, but of course he didn’t, nobody did, being disconnected and easy to miss was the Squadron’s whole point. It was an undercover force. Only those with the highest clearance even knew about it, and not a single person on it had anyone but each other to come home to at the end of the day.

One of the effects this has is that they will not be mourned.

Well, that's not quite true.

Two people will mourn them.

He stands up from his desk to give the finished paperwork to his secretary, and if he brushes an arm across his eyes as he does so, that's neither here nor there.